Government unveils reforms to personal injury claims


The government has unveiled a new claims process for people making personal injury claims relating to road traffic accidents, but critics say it has missed a trick in failing to recommend more radical reforms.

The long-awaited proposals for reform of personal injury compensation, published today, focus on making it quicker for people injured in a road traffic accident to receive compensation. However, the proposals conclude that there should be no change to small claims limits and fail to recommend a general overhaul of the whole sector.

The suggestions for reform have already attracted fierce criticism.

The Association of British Insurers (ABI) says more needs to be done to speed up the claims process for all compensation claims.

Stephen Haddrill, director general of the ABI, says: “The goal of reform must be a better deal for claimants. Many will remain stuck in a slow, complex and expensive system, that denies them speedy compensation and care.”

Even the motor reforms do not go far enough, the ABI says, and will only have a small impact on the 10% of motor insurance premiums that are swallowed up in legal costs.

And Haddrill adds: “The exclusion of workplace-related claims, which take on average three years to settle, is illogical and bizarre.”

The Conservative Party also warns that thousands of people who have accidents at work or as a result of a public body will suffer as a result of the reforms.

Shadow justice minister Henry Bellingham says: “The government has missed the opportunity to radically reform the whole personal injury sector, instead focusing solely on claims that relate to road traffic accidents.”

Both the Tories and the ABI blame pressure from trade unions for the lack of radical reform in the proposals.

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