Klein Hamilton News

Firms unite to fight Osborne’s PI reform plans

Written By - Sam Haynes - May 03,2016

Government plans to deny access to justice for ordinary people have come under attack. Access to Justice, which has financial backing from 38 firms, accused insurers of deliberately misleading ministers to ensure legislation which favours them.

The government plans to scrap the right to compensation for minor whiplash injuries and raise the upper limit for personal injury claims from £1,000 to £5,000.

The group, which ran a similar campaign in the build-up to the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012, will co-ordinate the lobbying of MPs and will contact injured people and charities to help support their case. Funding will also be allocated to commission research into possible alternative options.

A2J says it wants to provide members with a united voice to fight the proposals and will work with the government and insurers to create balanced alternatives which address concerns about fraud.

Martin Coyne, managing director of Ralli Ltd, said the government is being ‘hoodwinked’ by the insurance industry’s promise of lower premiums and it was time to make ministers understand the full implications of their proposals.

He said: ‘Members of the public who have a genuine claim will be denied access to justice, even for quite serious injury cases, and premiums will continue to rise as insurers replace falling investment income with higher prices.‘It’s great news for insurance company executives and shareholders but terrible for those hurt through no fault of their own on our roads.’

Coyne said A2J strongly supported action to clamp down on cold calling, tougher regulation of claims management companies and action on fraud.

But he suggested more could be done through sharing data and prosecuting fraudsters, neither of which require legislation.

Insurers have said motorists will save £50 a year on their premiums after the reforms, although they and the Treasury have admitted there will be no industry audit to ensure that promise is kept.

Defendant lawyers have said they will oppose the small claims limit rise, with the national Law Society also condemning the proposals.

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