Why you should be worried about the government's whiplash ban
You may have heard in the news that the Government is considering insurance company proposals to ban whiplash claims if you are involved in a car accident that is no fault of your own. According to our GW legal experts, this is a change that could be disastrous for your basic rights. Read on to find out what the reforms entail; what they could mean for you; and what you can do about them…
What are the proposed changes to my right to claim compensation?
At the moment, if you are the victim of a soft tissue injury or whiplash after a car accident that wasn’t your fault, you can enlist the expertise of a personal injury solicitor, who can help you claim the compensation you deserve. After all, whiplash is a painful condition that can affect your ability to work, sleep, look after your loved ones or maintain your usual quality of life.
The insurance industry wants to stop that.
In short, the Government is considering plans to raise the limit for personal injury compensation from £1000 to £5000, forcing people to take their case to small claims court, more than likely without the assistance of a lawyer Even more concerning is a suggestion that compensation should not be allowed at all for these types of injury or a much reduced tariff system for compensation be introduced.
Why is the Government trying to change the law?
According to the Ministry of Justice, “The government is bringing forward a package of measures to disincentivise minor, exaggerated and fraudulent road traffic accident related soft-tissue injury claims. The vast majority of these claims are known as whiplash claims” AKA end what many people refer to as ‘ambulance chasing’.
The Government claims that, as a result, vehicle insurance premiums will be reduced. It says by £40 per year.
Is it likely that my car insurance premium will be reduced?
Do you really trust your insurance company to lower your premium in the long-run?
In the past year, insurance premiums are reported to have increased by 10%. That is despite PI claims reducing in frequency (Access to Justice, 2016).
One might say that these reforms reflect the Government bowing down to the wishes of the insurance industry.
Why should I care?
By raising the limit on small claims from £1k to £5k, your right to claim adequate compensation for a whole host of injuries – from broken bones to damage caused by whiplash – could be denied or made much more difficult.
For instance – you break your leg in an accident that isn’t your fault and are unable to properly work or look after your loved ones – why shouldn’t you receive fair compensation and the help of a lawyer?
Without a lawyer to help you claim, would you really trust your insurance company to fight for you? Would you be confident enough to represent yourself in a small claims court and be confident that you would receive the compensation to which you are entitled?
Furthermore, to take away the right to claim compensation is, quite simply, a violation of your basic rights. After all, access to justice is the cornerstone of our democratic society.
What can I do about it?
You can write to your local MP expressing your concern about the issue. Find templates to help you here: accesstojusticeactiongroup.co.uk
You can also write to your local newspaper. Templates here: accesstojusticeactiongroup.co.uk
Help us spread the word on social media by sharing our regular updates and protests about this matter - find Goldsmith Williams Solicitors on Facebook or Twitter.
Content correct at time of publication.