The government plans to increase the small claims limit to £5,000 for those trying to get compensation after being injured in a road traffic accident.
Raising the limit to £5,000 means that injuries such as fractures, bruising and even facial scarring will be considered “small claims” leaving the victim to take on the insurance companies without the help of a lawyer.
Now, according to the Law Society, there is even further trauma in store for road traffic victims as they reveal that, according to research, 76 per cent of medical experts would not accept instructions from the claimant without a lawyer.
And for those that do, what about the cost?
Depending on the nature of the claim, upfront fees can run into hundreds of pounds. Under the current system of a no win no fee agreement, the law firm bears the initial cost of fees for medical reports and examinations as well as such things as consultancy fees, court fees, police reports, officer statements and police photographs where needed, and recovers the costs when the claim is settled. We feel this is the right approach; it is a burden the injured simply do not need.
Another area of great concern to the legal profession is being able to secure the right amount of compensation.
Our lawyers use their skill and experience to determine the correct level of compensation in each individual claim and enter into what can be lengthy negotiations with the insurance company until a fair amount is agreed.
We have cases where the true extent of the injury is not immediately obvious and expert medical advice is needed to determine how long the recovery period is likely to be. How is a layperson expected to know the true value of their claim or work out potential future losses?
Law Society president, Joe Egan commented: “By raising the small claims limit, the government is removing the solicitor from the claimant side of the process. Meanwhile, defendant insurers will still have the benefit of trained claims handlers who will have recourse to formal legal advice throughout the process.”
Author: Gail Harris