Jack Straw has stoked the coals in the favour of insurers in the debate over the present government’s proposals to increase the small claims limit. He claimed that they were ‘absurd’ and that the rise should apply to all types of personal injury claims.
Jack Straw, who was once forced to deny that he was paid £5,000 by the motor insurance industry for a speech and Q&A session, is apparently not finished with trying to decrease opportunities for genuine claimants to gain access for justice after these latest suggestions.
Speaking to the Times he said: “An imaginative personal injury lawyer in league with an imaginative medical professional would just offer an alternative diagnosis, so the problem would move from whiplash to, say, lower back pain.”
Remember it was Straw who originally began the debate that led to the referral fee ban during his time in government and he also took aim at Claims Management Companies (CMCs), suggesting that they needed much tighter regulation.
His calls are unlikely to be welcomed by the personal injury sector who recently underlined the reasons against the government’s proposal as part of the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) consultation which ended on the 4th January 2013.
The main concerns with the small claims limit is that genuine victims will be denied their access to justice to what is a real injury type as they can no longer be represented in court by a personal injury solicitor.
Claimants will then be forced to take derisory offers from the insurance companies, which will hardly compensate the recovery costs from their injuries and the loss of earnings that often comes with it. For claimants who decide to go without any representation, they will come up against the experienced trained lawyers of insurance companies. Hardly a fair fight for genuine victims of car accidents and other road traffic accidents?
1. Wikimedia; Robert D. Ward; https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Jack_Straw_031113-D-9880W-020.jpg