75% of personal injury firms are expected to make staff redundancies as a direct result of the government’s plans to introduce radical new civil justice reforms.
The Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL) carried out a survey of just over 150 personal injury firms in response to the controversial government proposals. Amongst the proposals are plans to:
• Reduce recoverable costs for RTA claims below the value of £10,000 by £700 to £500
• Introduce fixed fees up to claims worth £25,000
• Extend the electronic RTA portal to handle public and employer claims as well
17% of the firms in the study claimed that they would be forced to cease handling personal injury compensation claims valued below £25,000 as a result of the proposals and over 50% remained unsure of what course of action to take.
APIL has criticised the Ministry of Justice for making it more difficult for vulnerable injured victims to seek independent legal advice. Furthermore, they have accused the MoJ of overlooking the fact that a certain minimum amount of work is unavoidable in all claims. The government’s claim that a £700 reduction in costs would be cancelled out by firms no longer paying for referrals has also been questioned. Over 50% of firms, like ours, do not pay such fees as it stands so no savings would be made.
It is feared that with law firms struggling in the face of the changes, claims management companies will be able to capitalise, reducing the amount of contact that injured victims have with fully qualified solicitors.
A backlash from lawyers over the extension of the RTA portal led the MoJ to postpone the plan however the changes to the fee structure could be in place in the spring.
Whilst the government has stressed that the proposals are not intended to make claiming more difficult for anyone, the changes to fixed recoverable costs are likely to price some people out of making a claim due to the lack of legal support that may be available.
There are strict time limits for all Compensation Claims. Any delay in making your claim, could result in the loss of the compensation you deserve.
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