The Law Society have hit back at claims by insurance company Aviva that personal injury lawyers should be removed from the claims process in order to halt the rise in car insurance premiums.
Last week Aviva suggested that if claimants were to go directly to the ‘at fault’ insurer as opposed to using legal advice from a personal injury lawyer then it would result in the motorist saving up to £60 a year on their car insurance premiums.
The Law Society President, Lucy Scott-Moncrieff has hit back against the claims saying: “Who do you trust to give you a fair deal? A lawyer working for you, or an insurer working for the person or company in the wrong, whose main interest is minimising what they pay you?”
She went on to say: “Some in the insurance industry already go directly to victims of accidents immediately after the accident to get them to sign away their rights for a cheque that is unlikely to have any relationship to what they’re really entitle to. Aviva’s proposal seeks to take that a step further.”
The claims from Aviva were met with equal disdain from the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives (CILEx). Chief Executive Diane Burleigh said: “After checking it wasn’t April Fool’s day I was astounded at Aviva’s claims. Inadvertent or not, this attempt to persuade government to legislate to prevent people seeking and obtaining legal advice must be an interference with the rule of law.
“Insurers are not independent parties and will deal with their claims in a way that saves them money. The public has little faith in financial, insurance and other business sectors after recent scandals. Having a legal representative act on behalf of the motorists ensures any claim is dealt with independently, and helps to restore confidence.”
She went on to state that dealing with fraudulent was a priority for CILEx but labelled Aviva’s attempts to remove independent legal advice and guidance for claimants as absurd.
This is the latest attempt by the insurance industry to manipulate the government with inaccurate figures and reasons for spiraling premiums at the expense of the personal injury sector, and once more a display a lack of regard for the claimant’s access to justice.
It is often the case that the insurance companies will offer a figure much lower than the claimants entitlement in order to keep their own costs down but with the government seemingly hanging on their every word it seems certain that some time in the future the small claims limit will be increased from £1,000 – £5,000 or maybe even more if Justice Secretary Chris Grayling follows through on hints that he has been giving out recently.
1. UKAJI; https://ukaji.org/2016/02/29/access-to-justice-the-bach-commissions-call-for-evidence/