Due to the drastic nature of the personal injury reforms and the timing of their implementation on the April 1st, you could have been forgiven for thinking that they might be an April fools joke. Sadly they are not and yesterday marked the first working day of the new era for the personal injury claims sector and the claimant.
What the changes mean is that the injury victims can no longer recover the costs of a case from the at-fault defendant as they have been able to do in the past, and as a result must pay these costs themselves from their compensation.
The Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL) have again criticised the personal injury reforms yesterday, claiming that the government have left the claimant worse off and shifted the responsibility of burden on to them rather than the culpable defendant.
APIL President, Karl Tonks said: “No win no fee was introduced by the government after legal aid was all but abolished for injury cases to give the average man on the street a chance to use the legal system to right the wrongs done to him.
“But reforms which take effect from today, which are designed to save money for the guilty party who caused the injury, mean that the no-win no-fee option as we know it no longer exists. This goes against the general principle of compensation claims, which is that the claimant should receive the right amount in compensation to return him to the position he was in before the injury occurred. It switches the burden from the guilty party to the victim.”
The reforms also bring an end to after-the-event insurance premiums (ATE Insurance) being recoverable from the defendants, adding more costs to be subsidised from the claimant’s damages. Tonks criticised these measures and insisted that as a result, the guilty party will no longer be held accountable for their wrongdoings.
He said: “When someone is negligent and causes suffering, he should be held to account. Pursuing justice should not be an additional burden on someone who is injured and simply looking to put his life back on track. Nobody asks to be injured, and now injured people are expected to cover the cost of pursuing redress.”
Over the coming weeks there will be confusion for accident victims on whether or not their claim can still be handled. If you have a claim and would like some more information about how you can still pursue it and what help you can get in terms of legal representation you can contact us today.
1. Public Domain Pictures; Tom Barnick; http://www.publicdomainpictures.net/view-image.php?image=108968&picture=april-2015-calendar-page