Some legal eagles are working themselves up into a frenzy at the moment, shouting about the importance of access to justice for people who need to make a personal injury claim. Their pleas are hitting a peak ahead of tomorrow’s Second Reading of the Civil Liability Bill, and wider reforms to the personal injury compensation system.
It’s touching they’re so worried about our fundamental rights, but when you see the numbers involved it’s hard not to wonder how much self-interest is at play. For every £1 paid out in personal injury claims, insurers end up paying an additional 47p in legal costs, making personal injury cases a nice little money-spinner for the legal profession. Perhaps this is less about access to justice and more about access to the compensation gravy train.
Why else would they oppose lower motor bills and a simpler, speedier online claims process? Maybe because the latter doesn’t require a claimant lawyer?
MPs considering how to vote on this Bill will care more that 9 out of 10 people recently surveyed said they think claimant lawyer costs are too high. Taking the excessive legal costs out of the compensation system should also do a lot to tackle the modern plague of cold callers and unsolicited texts. Many of us will have taken a call enquiring about our welfare after a road accident we weren’t even involved in, and it never comes at a convenient time. More seriously, there are fears vulnerable people and those in need of easy cash can be talked into making fake or exaggerated claims.
These cold-calling firms are renowned for their adaptability – perhaps their next move should be into offering career advice for claimant lawyers in need of a new income stream.