Lower Accident Compensation Payouts On The Cards? A Review of Lord Young's Health & Safety Report

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In response to Lord Young's Health & Safety report "Common Sense, Common Safety" Michael Jefferies of First Personal Injury believes that the suggestions will lower compensation payouts for accident victims.

Whilst the poor clients are put in such a terrible financial situation, the insurers’ shareholders will be enjoying a windfall as a result of paying out less

David Cameron’s Adviser of Health and Safety Law and Practice, Lord Young has published a report of recommendations with the aim to remove the fear of litigation that apparently exists unnecessarily in businesses today.

The report, titled “Common Sense, Common Safety” was published on the 15th of October and in brief contains suggestions such as introducing the recommendations in Lord Justice Jackson’s review of civil litigation costs.

Michael Jefferies, Managing Partner of First Personal Injury, believes that Lord Young’s suggestions will restrict access to justice, on the basis that the proposed changes to the system would not favour the personal injury firms and effectively put them out of business, reducing the likelihood that accident victims will gain the compensation they are entitled to.

Currently lawyer success fees are paid by the losing party, but Lord Justice Jackson has recommended that these are instead paid by the client, through increasing the client damages by 10%.

However Michael Jefferies believes that “if the solicitors’ success fee is taken from the client, then the amounts received by clients will be even lower than they receive now. If they don’t actually receive their full compensation then they may run out of money to pay for the nursing care or have to reduce their standard of living. The whole point of the law of negligence is that the negligent party, through their insurers, puts the client back in the position that they would have been had the negligence not occurred.”

“Whilst the poor clients are put in such a terrible financial situation, the insurers’ shareholders will be enjoying a windfall as a result of paying out less.”

In relation to Lord Justice Jackson’s report, published in January 2010, Lord Young also welcomes the recommendation of fixed fees for injury claims under £10,000 (with the possibility of this even being raised to £25,000). The suggestion of fixed fees causes concern for Michael Jefferies who feels that this could put personal injury firms out of business as well as extending the length of time it will take to close a case.

“Defendant insurers control the disclosure of vital documentation and can therefore offer to settle a case at anytime. Meanwhile the only weapon the claimant solicitor has is the costs there will be to the defendant if the case is forced to go to court because they are not getting on and settling the case properly.”

“The defendants ability to string cases out thereby delaying the clients getting their rightful compensation, will make it uneconomic for claimant lawyers to conduct the work as the fee will be fixed no matter how much the defendant insurers string the case out. It is therefore likely that they will stop doing such work, thereby reducing innocently injured claimants finding access to justice.”

About First Personal Injury
First Personal Injury is a trading name of Jefferies LLP one of the UK's leading accident claim law firms. Jefferies LLP has over 16 years experience in personal injury accident claims. They have won justice and personal injury compensation for tens of thousands of people all over the country from its base in Altrincham, South Manchester. The firm deals with all levels of personal injury claims - from minor to catastrophic.

Contact: Hannah Gibson
Attacat (PR Division)
Tel: 0131 220 1441
Email: hannah(dot)gibson(at)attacat(dot)co(dot)uk

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