May, if you suffer a modest injury in a road traffic accident and choose to make a personal injury ‘whiplash claim’ against the negligent driver, it will be you versus the insurance industry. From today, if your claim is worth less than £5000, you must now pursue your whiplash claim against the motor insurer by yourself through an online portal.
The motives for cutting away the right to use legal representation is two-fold. To cut costs and to crack down on fraudulent claims. The insurance industry promises to pass on savings of £1.2billion to motorists.
and the BBC
cover this story today with the singular narrative that we are all crooks.
- The primary purpose of COMPULSORY motor insurance is to indemnify you against causing damage to another road user and their vehicle
- The legal costs for a typical whiplash claim before today was around £500. Yes, only £500 for a trained lawyer to oversee your claim against the insurer, advise you on obtaining independent expert medical evidence to prove your injury, advising you on that medical evidence, to collating your financial losses and to negotiating a settlement with the motor insurer on your behalf
- We are told that savings of £35 per year will be passed on to motorists through lower premiums
- What of the sky high cost of repairs and write-offs to modern vehicles equipped with every safety gadget possible?
- Injury damages for 6-months of agony, sleeplessness, headaches and altogether, a genuine pain in the neck, has also been cut from between £2000-£3000 to a mere £495. How many genuinely injured people would even bother? Cynics of the new rules might suggest that this is the whole idea…
Are you content with saving the equivalent of £0.09p per day on your annual motor insurance premium in order to cut out the lawyers, slash damages and go it alone, online, against the insurance industry? You can still use a lawyer, but you will be personally responsible for paying your own legal costs should you choose to do so.
This is the thin edge of a wedge. When the number of road traffic injury claims come down, government and insurance leaders will feel vindicated. They will then likely try to push through more changes which will continue to punish innocent law-abiding drivers and passengers, like you and me.