Following a Freedom of Information Act request, the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers has found that the number of whiplash claims has fallen in the last year by eight per cent.
This is the fourth year in a row that there has been a reduction according to figures released by the government’s Compensation Recovery Unit (CRU). Since 2010/11 whiplash claims have fallen by almost 200,000, which is a decrease of more than a third (34 per cent). Between 2012/13 and 2014/15 there was a fall of 23 per cent - from 488,281 claims to 376,513.
Despite the already apparent drop in claims prior to the introduction of the Jackson reforms in England and Wales on 1 April 2013, the government pressed ahead with radical changes to the ways in which civil litigation was funded and managed, arguing that they were necessary to curb an excessive number of claims.
Thompsons predicted that the reforms would have a major impact on access to justice for many working people who had been injured through no fault of their own at work or on the road.
This was because lawyers were no longer able to fight their cases on a “no win, no fee” basis. Unless the case was clear cut, Thompsons argued that people would have difficulty in finding a lawyer to take their case on or if they could find someone, they would not receive their compensation in full.
Judith Gledhill from Thompsons Solicitors commented: “The reduction in the number of claims for whiplash is a clear indication that injured people are experiencing difficulty in accessing legal advice and assistance. At the same time, insurance companies are warning that the cost of motor premiums may have to rise after previously promising that they would fall.
“If we also consider the findings of a Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) report, which finds that consumers paying for insurance in monthly instalments are charged up to 75% in interest, it seems that insurers are achieving significant benefits at the cost of those who have been injured through no fault of their own”.
To read Thompsons' summary of the main Jackson reforms, go here: http://www.thompsons.law.co.uk/ltext/jackson-review-civil-litigation-costs.htm
To read Thompsons’ submission on the impact of the Jackson reforms, go here:
To read the FCA report, the Provision of premium finance to retail general insurance customers, go here: http://www.fca.org.uk/your-fca/documents/thematic-reviews/tr15-05