Government Falls Over Itself To Pay Back Insurance Companies At The Expense Of Innocent Public.

Yesterday, 25th November 2015, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne used the Autumn address regarding the state of the country’s finances to announce the final nail in the Coffin of personal injury compensation for the innocent victims of accidents that were not their fault in England & Wales.

Heading To A Lawless Society.

As dramatic as this may sound, yesterday’s further and financial favour being paid by this government to the insurance industry, effectively wipes out 90% of personal injury compensation claims in England & Wales – if this nonsense, and unconstitutional announcement becomes Enacted as Law. It is clearly the intent of the government for more of the pigeon law that currently seems to emanate out of Whitehall in this area of law to continue.

The difficulty most Claimant injury lawyers have to face at this time in reality, is that all of the other unconstitutional and unlawful steps taken to attack the personal injury compensation claims area of law for the apparent benefit of the insurers and their profits, have all been rushed through regardless – against the wishes of most of the profession, against the public interest of the people of England and Wales, and this unexpected announcement completes nicely for the insurers, a raft of changes Enacted by this government, simply to increase the mammoth profits of the insurance industry who seek only to boost such profits further.

Even Defendant lawyers in this area are beginning to feel the financial pinch, and redundancies at many of the big firms have already occurred. The loss of employment is going to be a huge consequence of this issue. This notwithstanding the fact that it has been shown to be the case, that we DO NOT live in a so called compensation culture.

Previous Unreasonable Changes Already Succeeded In Reducing Claims By A Third.

With the advent of the Portal system reducing the number of injury compensation claims being pursued for road traffic accidents by one third, despite the number of accidents continuing to rise, the introduction of paltry Fixed Fees, based upon insurance company rhetoric and (later proven to be) incorrect figures, leading to a reduction in the profitability of this type of work anyway, whilst the standards expected of solicitors continue to remain extremely high, – the benefit for the insurance giants is clear to see. For those massive benefits of less claims being pursued, and significant savings on legal costs for claims actually pursued, has anybody actually noticed a reduction in any of their insurance premiums as they promised?

The simple and short answer is no. In fact, they continue to rise (certainly for the writer, despite not claiming) despite this rather large boost to the profits provided by the government changes. Despite costs of being in business, heavy regulation, INSURANCE BILLS (ironically) advertising, (because it is not a legal requirement to use injury solicitors) staffing costs , tax and National Insurance costs rising all the time, year in year out, solicitors acting in the personal injury field have not actually had a pay rise since the 1980’s. In fact they have continued to receive pay cuts in reality ever since, especially with the changes of 2011. This occurred whilst injury solicitors were tasked with taking the financial burden off the country, and onto their own backs, with the removal of legal aid.

Why Are These Suggestions So Harmful?

Injured victims of accidents that were not their fault that have suffered personal injuries as a result are entitled in law, longstanding and good law at that, to receive personal injury compensation for their suffering. That is enshrined in English law. The dismantling of the Health & Safety laws at the 11th hour in Section 69 of the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act 2013, which came into force on 1st October 2013, brings far reaching changes to civil liability claims for personal injury following an accident at work, that quite frankly, most honest hard working citizens of the UK have no idea about.

This Act removed with one sharp, unseen cut, civil liability on the part of employers for breach of health and safety regulations. Prior to 1st October 2013 – an injured employee could bring a claim against his or her employer for a breach of health and safety regulations if they suffered personal injury in an accident at work.

This non advertised and harmful piece of legislation wiped out over a century of law and removed protection and the right to pursue a claim for compensation for personal injury suffered in an accident at work from millions of every day workers in England & Wales. They don’t know it in all probability.

It is a concerning reality now, that a man can go to work in modern Britain, and lose his life there, but his family have no right of redress, unless his employer was negligent – a stiffer test than breach of regulation, and one likely to be defended much more. Whilst the media and their anti ‘elf ‘n’ safety mocking became commonplace, it is true to say that the combination of the regulations and the work of hard working, professional, injury solicitors saved lives.

By the way, should the worst come to the worst, the compensation offered as bereavement for the loss of life of a loved one in an accident is insultingly low, – £12,980 under the Fatal Accidents Act 1976.

Really, What Is Insurance For Now, In England & Wales?

It is a simple fact of life in England and Wales that you have to have insurance for pretty much everything. If you own a car, it is a legal requirement for you to hold motor insurance. It is of course, a criminal offence for you to drive without the benefit of car insurance. Employers are legally bound to hold employers liability insurance and public liability insurance. If you buy a house – you will require a mortgage no doubt, and you will have to take out life insurance cover to pay that mortgage should you die in an accident at work that your family cannot claim compensation for anymore.

All of these are legal requirements for you to take out an insurance policy. Despite the fact that your supposedly no claims bonus increases every year that you do not claim, why does your insurance policy premium seem to rise year upon year? Your seeming careful approach fails to be rewarded. Where else do you spend such a large sum of money every year, and hope and pray NOT to have to seek the benefit of it?

They hardly need to advertise for business when it is a legal requirement for everybody in the country to use their products! Yet we are peppered on the television, radio and newspapers with adverts for their services, from phones, to dogs, to famous people vying for your attention. Why, when we are forced to take out their policies?

This seems rather strange when their sole aim is to remove any legal entitlement for people to call in on what the insurance policy is taken out to protect against, and they lobby the government successfully, to make it unlawful for people to claim against the policies taken out, to make sure they don’t have to pay anything out?

Not a bad business model. Should have tried that one myself.

Bleak House – 25th November 2015.

Yesterday’s announcement by the Chancellor for those who do not know, seeks to bring in an increase in the small claims limit for personal injury compensation claims to £5,000 from the current limit of £1,000, – a 500% increase no less. This seems to coincide rather nicely with a near 700% increase in the cost of Issuing a personal injury compensation claim in the County Court that was brought in with just one weeks notice last year.

Anybody who has been unfortunate enough to be injured in an accident that was not their fault and has pursued a claim for personal injury compensation knows how significant and debilitating this can be, and how low the awards of compensation are for personal injuries in the UK legal system. To seek to remove the right to redress and injury compensation, really does add insult to injury.

To assist you further in understanding how significant this announcement is, approximately 85% of all personal injury compensation claims pursued in England and Wales have a personal injury that obtains a value of less than £5,000 in injury compensation. The sum total of this particular nugget of change is a clear attempt to de-lawyer the injury compensation claims process.

That is to say, the insurers desire to provide you with a bunch of flowers, a bar of chocolate and an apology following a road traffic accident that was not your fault where you suffer personal injury, instead of your right to claim injury compensation looms ever closer to becoming their treasured reality.

Why is this so important?

Simple, if you do not receive £5,000 for your personal injury compensation claim, you are not entitled to receive payment of legal costs from your opponent that has the benefit of insurance to cover such losses. That means you would have to pay your lawyer in full, IF you are actually allowed to seek injury compensation, which if your accident occurred in a motor car, it appears you can not do so anyway.

Bearing in mind the particularly tight constraints on the budgets of people in England and Wales in this day and age, this will inevitably lead to people dealing direct with insurance companies and receiving something in the order of £1,000 when an injury lawyer would in ordinary terms achieve more for the injury claim.

No More ‘Whiplash’Injury Compensation Claims.

The Chancellor without providing any lawful authority or meat on the bones – also suggested at the same time as that bombshell, that the pursuing of a minor whiplash claim would also be removed from you. Apparently, the injured victim of a road traffic accident that was not their fault suffering debilitating pain that can prevent them from going to work, receiving a wage, and therefore paying their mortgage for example, is deemed insignificant, and must be removed. Yes, that’s right – the profits of the insurers are more important than the lives of everyday citizens of England and Wales going about their business.

This comes at a time when the world looms perilously on the brink of World War III. The UK, in ignorance, concentrates on reducing further, the civil liberties and legal rights of it’s citizens to protect the profits of the insurance industry. Why is the UK insurance industry permitted to ride roughshod over the government, and sell policies that cannot be claimed upon?

On the same day the Chancellor announced that the UK can afford to increase overseas aid by £1,000,000,000, the self said sum that the whiplash phenomenon of the non-existent compensation culture supposedly costs every year, he hits hard, the hard working tax payers of the country and tells them they’re unworthy of redress should they be the victim of another’s negligence causing them harm.

Has anybody else noted that compensation and claims from an insurance policy is an expense of the insurance industry and not the nation? Hence, the Chancellor’s comments had absolutely no right appearing in an Autumn statement about the state of the nation’s finances, and certainly not without fair consultation, discussion or warning. Sounds alarmingly Communist.

Compensation for personal injury sustained in a road traffic accident, commonly called whiplash claims, accounts for 80% of all personal injury claims pursued in England and Wales, which explains why the value of personal injury compensation claims in England and Wales traditionally has a value of less than £5,000.

Why Is This A Problem?

Everybody in England and Wales is protected by the law of tort to be free from harm by the negligence and conduct of another. We all owe each other a duty of care, when on the road, at work, or in public. If that duty of care is breached and an accident occurs, somebody will suffer. Policies of insurance are therefore, taken out by people and businesses, to compensate financially the victim of the wrongdoers negligence.

What Questions Arise?

How is one person’s right to compensation bigger than another? How is one person’s negligence permitted to escape liability in the form of personal injuries to the neck and back following a road traffic accident? How is it possible to say legally that one person’s injury is not worthy of legal redress? The simple fact is that it cannot, yet this is the new intention, proudly stated by the government. How far out of touch are the multi millionaire politicians with the people of the UK?

What is a minor whiplash injury? When is a tort of negligence not a tort of negligence? It is these careless and unlawful approaches to the personal injury compensation area of law since this government has been in office that is so telling as to why the Lord Chancellor needs to be legally qualified, and quite frankly, why the House of Lords is needed to apply sense – rather than the hapless non legally qualified individuals appointed to the previously prestigious position of Lord Chancellor, of Grayling and Gove, who appear so out of their depth in such a position. Hence the abuse of law by the government continues unabated.

What kind of a country do we live in where it is deemed okay to drive into the back of somebody, cause them physical harm, prevent them from going to work and earning a living for their family – possibly losing their home in the process, and that person is not entitled to redress and compensation? Again, sounding rather Communist and Dickensian sadly.

Hidden & Unexpected Financial Burden On The UK As A Result.

What the Chancellor and his friends in the insurance industry seem to forget, is that the legal profession working in the personal injury compensation arena pays a significant amount of tax and National Insurance contributions to the UK economy, providing jobs, and it must be noted – at the financial expenditure and risk of the injury lawyers, permits redress for the injured victims of accidents that were not their fault.

If an injured victim is absent from work and does not receive pay, they receive Statutory Sick Pay that has to be reimbursed to the injured victims employers by the government. Thereafter, that person may fall into the benefit system. The accident and injury sustained, can turn one’s life on it’s head in an instant, and lest we forget, we are all but one second away from an accident and injury that was not our fault.

The injury lawyers of England and Wales recover millions of pounds every year for the Department of Work & Pensions when recovering loss of earnings for injured victims of accidents that were not their fault, pursuing personal injury compensation claims, with attached loss of earnings. Yes, it’s true, injuries cause people to be absent from work.

The benefits received in lieu of earnings by the injured victim have to be paid back to the government out of the compensation the injured person receives for their loss of earnings claim, and is only recovered for the government by the honest, hard work of the injury lawyers, set against the insurance companies desire to resist the claims.

With the removal of the right to claim compensation for the very painful personal injury condition commonly referred to as whiplash, the government has lost this stream of income, and surely, the support of all who believe in the rule of law, and the health and legal rights of the citizens. This is no minor issue people.

Many more people will become dependent on the benefit system having been involved in an accident, and they will now, be prevented from claiming compensation and additionally, shall not have those benefits recovered by their now unemployed injury solicitors.

Quite where the funds to pay the increased burden on the benefit system shall come from is unknown. This of course is doubly important when one considers the number of personal injury lawyers, support staff and firms that will be closed by these changes, and the increased burden upon the benefit system this will bring in the mass panic that follows.

The loss of the significant tax, National Insurance contributions, pension contributions as well as the recovery of benefits highlighted above, when coupled with those previously employed individuals in the legal sector being forced out of work and onto the benefit system, the problem should be clear to see.

By the way, insurance companies will also need less staff, increasing the unemployment line further, and boosting profits even more.

This is no bleak Dickensian tale of woe from an injury solicitor with a vested interest in the industry continuing, this is a stark warning of what is to come if these changes are permitted to become law together.

The change to the £5,000 small claims limit for personal injury claims by itself would be significant, but would in most likelihood lead to something more similar to the American system, where the lawyers take a percentage of the total settlement, only without the benefit of the huge damages including punitive damages recovered in America. The alternative, is the man in the street, in dire need of help and unable to get it, dealing with the insurers themselves, and under compensating himself.

The cocktail of the two changes together, is something much more potent. It actually would prevent redress and compensation being received for the most common type of accident and injury affecting the people of the UK. It is strange how the Chancellor used the autumn Statement to advise the public as to the financial condition of the country to invoke policy changes for the benefit of the insurance industry that actually harms and massively affects the financial health of the UK people as a whole!

Already the share value of Slater & Gordon, probably the biggest personal injury compensation law firm in the UK currently by way of size, has seen their share value fall by 51% overnight!

There has indeed been a movement in the Force – the Dark side, crushing the Light.

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