Articles From the Team
Discussing: The PI Market and Reforms
Most people in the legal PI market who have paying attention to the reforms over the last few years will have heard “whiplash reforms” and “PI reforms” and governments plans to introduce changes to the personal injury claims process.
As a largely focused PI recruiter it’s been impossible to avoid talk of the impending changes and we have seen a significant drop off in trainees qualifying in to PI, especially motor related teams.
The rationale behind the impending changes was that motor premium costs are far too high and the cost of whiplash to policyholders amounted to an average of £90 per policy, and so by taking whiplash claims out of the system, every household paying a motor premium would save money.
The changes will affect the amount of compensation claimants receive and include:
- The small claims limit increasing from £1,000 to £5,000 for road traffic accidents not including pedestrians, cyclists, motorcyclists and horse riders, and from £1,000 to £2,000 for other claims (vulnerable road users). This means that claims up to £5,000 in value will no longer be cost bearing and therefore, in theory, less attractive to claimant solicitors and claims management companies, or for fraudsters to put forward fraudulent whiplash claims. https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukdsi/2021/9780348220612
- A new portal system to be developed so that claimants can bring their insurance claims for personal injury directly, and do not need to use lawyers or claims management companies.
In January 2021, the government delayed the reforms to May 2021. The small claims limit increase, along with new tariffs, will lead to more cases being processed as small claims. Claimants will in most cases have to pay their own legal costs, even if successful. For many the only option may be to represent themselves.
Given all the changes to the Pi market we have seen a large uptake in firms focusing on purely El/PL/clinical negligence and serious injury work. Most firms have been making changes for a long time and so we have seen a large uptake in candidates wanted to retrain out of the area of purely RTA motor work.
The market remains very buoyant in the non RTA areas, with good salaries, very strong work flow and strong prospects of development. Therefore I would still encourage trainees in this field to explore these options as there are some great firms out there well set up and established to weather the RTA changes.