David Cameron had hardly got his foot through the front door of number 10, before the hankering for further whiplash reform had begun.
The Forum of Insurance Lawyers (FOIL) wasted no time in making their motivations clear for the next five years with a celebratory tweet, heralding the fact that LASPO will remain ‘unpicked’ and urging future reform to the personal injury industry.
In the tweet, FOIL alludes to the alleged “Compo Culture” and suggests that more reform is needed to tackle this. They also mention Mesothelioma, Conditional Fee Agreements and Noise Induced Hearing Loss claims as ‘wasteful’, points that will not sit comfortably with the personal injury sector.
The election result is bound to cause apprehensions among personal injury lawyers considering the wholesale reforms that have gone on before in the previous five years.
It is actually surprising that the insurers in this case did not make a direct reference to the small claims limit, although there is a chance that the comments regarding more reforms to tackle the alleged compensation culture would include their plans for this.
With the insurance industry still channelling the myth of a compensation culture there is no sign of the fight back from the personal injury profession ceasing and this week APIL’s new president, Jonathan Wheeler, carried that fight in his blog.
He pointed out that since 2010/11 the number of whiplash claims being made in the UK had dropped by 200,000, from 566,998 to 369,634. What’s more he also stated that in the past year alone, whiplash claims have fallen by eight percent.
Despite this though, the insurers continue to hike the prices of insurance premiums, going against everything they promised in regards to the deal over reforming the way whiplash claims are dealt with.
These are not figures that are being produced by the personal injury just to feed their own propaganda. These claims are coming directly from figures released by the Government themselves. Surely it is time then that the newly elected Government asked the insurers as to why car insurance premiums are set to increase again this year, in spite of their own revelations?
If they fail to and move further towards giving insurance representatives such as FOIL, what they want then they are immediately undermining themselves.
So in response to the tweet by the Forum of Insurance Lawyers, there is no need for more reform to tackle the compensation culture as clearly the compensation culture is a myth created by the insurers to continue to force through their agenda and protect their profits.
Mesothelioma is something that needs looking at but we would suspect not in the way that the Forum would like it to be.
There has been and is a wasted opportunity when it comes to the Mesothelioma act and that is to ensure more of these desperately ill victims or families of those lost to the killer disease, are compensated in a manner that they deserve.
To attempt to take anything else from them though fixed recoverable costs is simply inhumane and in essence you it would be stealing from the dying or deceased. There is not justification for this and the insurers simply have to be stopped in their tracks when it comes to attempting to encourage these reforms.
As for Noise Induced hearing loss, it is predictably clear that the insurance industry see this as the ‘new whiplash’. Our only hope is that it doesn’t become literally that in terms of the obstruction of justice by petty and unnecessary reforms.
Yes there has been an increase in the number of NIHL claims being made in recent years, but this has a lot more to do with the fact that those suffering from it have more education on the condition, rather than an attempt to encourage more claims from the personal injury lawyers.
Sufferers of noise induced hearing loss are well within their rights to claim for compensation, now that it has become clear that it was avoidable. What the insurers need to realise is just how vulnerable the victims of NIHL have become and the impact that I has on the way they live their lives.
We might not have a new government and it may be true that LASPO will remain ‘unpicked’ but what is important now is that the Government shape up and admit where they have been wrong.
The Whiplash figures have proven what was said all along and that was it was simply not true that there was a compensation culture and that insurers are legitimately only interested in serving themselves and protecting their profits.
This has to be taken into account when considering the more serious issues of Mesothelioma and NIHL and the Government simply has to refuse to hammer the industry with more reform, or we can all but kiss goodbye to access to justice for genuine claimants.