Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Accident victims will miss out

New rules will mean victims injured in accidents that aren't their fault will face drastically reduced compensation payouts - that's the warning from Alison Carter who leads our personal injury team.

"Once the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Bill comes into force, anyone injured because someone else has been negligent will be considerably worse off. The proposed legislation will make it more difficult for victims to get justice and will also reduce the amount of compensation available because it restricts 'no win no fee' agreements."

In the last five years, almost 3 million people have used "no win no fee" agreements to fund their legal claims, and 80% said they were satisfied with the current system.

Under the current system, the victim keeps 100% of their compensation if they are successful in a personal injury claim, and they can take out insurance to protect them from having to pay the other side's costs if they lose. They can also recover the cost of the insurance from the person who is to blame, and if the case is a success, the victim's solicitor can recover their fee from the other side too.

"But under the new proposals, neither the insurance premium or the success fee can be recovered and the victim will have to foot the bill," said Alison.

"This means victims will face hefty reductions in the amount of compensation they receive, and that funding will be a stumbling block for anyone considering putting in a claim, as many people won't be able to afford to pay for the insurance and so won't be able to risk losing.

"Anyone who has been injured in an accident that was not their fault should make a claim sooner rather than later, so they can use the current system which is much fairer."