Injured face three year wait for compensation

25 March 2008

People are waiting for up to three years for personal injury compensation because of delays to government reforms, it has been claimed.

Last April the government proposed reforming personal injury compensation to end delays. It suggested introducing timescales for lawyers and insurers to ensure injured people received their money quicker.

However, the Association of British Insurers (ABI) says 80% of motor accident personal injury claims take an average of 730 days to settle despite being straightforward and non-contentious. Workplace injuries currently take an average of three years to be financially resolved.

With the current compensation system failing many claimants, the government has come under renewed pressure to introduce reforms and speed up compensation payouts.

Stephen Haddrill, director general of the ABI, said the system is too slow, is “riddled” with high legal costs and undervalues rehabilitation.

He added: “Insurers want to pay compensation and arrange rehabilitation faster than the current system allows.

“The government has grasped the need for reform. We look forward to implementation of its proposals without further delay. Every day without change is another day of unnecessary delay for claimants.”

The ABI also believes that slow compensation payments and the legal costs have inflated the cost of insurance, with 10% of every motor insurance premium used to pay legal professionals.

Citizens Advice has backed the calls. Spokesman James Sandbach said: “For many thousands of people who have experienced accident or injury through no fault of their own, often suffering disabling effects, the system is failing.”

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