Articles From the Team
The personal injury market
The Jackson Reforms have been a constant source of concern for personal injury lawyers and the recent announcement relating to MoJ Whiplash reforms is the latest contributor. Although previously shelved, the paper has re-introduced plans to either scrap or cap compensation for soft-tissue injuries. It would see the average whiplash compensation cut from £1,850 to a maximum of £425. As most of us are drivers, should we be celebrating on the promise we will save £40 per year on insurance premiums? It seems an insignificant amount when compared to the estimates of between £1 and £8bn savings for the insurance companies.
Personal injury reforms will not stop there either, they started in 2010 and the next move expected is an increased limit of fixed recoverable costs on claims up to £250,000. Further, there is likely to be an increase of the small claims limit to £5,000.
What does this mean as a personal injury lawyer? It sounds doom and gloom and a lot of lawyers are concerned about security in the market. However, the reforms are not yet concrete and the industry is still in a position to respond to these government plans. The consensus in the marketplace is that the reforms have stretched too far, not just from a fee-earning perspective, but they have removed protection for genuine claimants.
The focus of the reforms should be on tackling fraud and proposed plans to stop offers of settlement without a medical report are a good thing. It will provide credibility to the market and enable lawyers to prove they are progressing only genuine claims.
An increase in the limit of FRC to £250,000 can also be a positive move for the job market. The claims will still be there, but the reduction in fees paid will likely result in higher value claims being handled by non-solicitors. This will increase the complexity of matters available to CILEX professionals. If you are a qualified solicitor, then a focus will be on the highest value cases. It also shouldn’t be forgotten that the personal injury market is still significant, it remains the largest sector within personal legal services and it will continue to adapt and respond to the Jackson reforms.
If you want to discuss your career within personal injury, then please get in touch with BCL Legal.