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Open letter regarding proposed personal injury reforms

Last week Justice Secretary Chris Grayling announced proposals to increase the upper limit of the small claims track from £1,000 to £5,000 in relation to, amongst other things raised, whiplash cases.

This is my open letter to him in response.

Dear Mr Grayling

I really hope that you are never involved in a road traffic accident where you may have received an injury.  I sincerely hope that, especially after April of next year, this does not happen to you in the light of your suggestions on the way such cases will be treated.

You see to begin with, if you suffered a whiplash injury, the chances are that you would be told that there is no such thing and even if there was that you would be one of those “horrible people” trying to profit from your injury by making a claim.  Now if you did try to make a claim, the chances are that you would labelled a “malingerer” or even better that you were making a fraudulent claim or at the very least an exaggerated one.

Being a hardy soul you may decide to carry on with your claim: after all you would be the innocent party in the accident. – you did not ask to be hurt and of course that is why we all take out motor insurance which, as you know, is compulsory.

So what would you do? Well, you could not engage the help of a legal professional, (that quaint term “a solicitor”) as you have decided in your infinite wisdom that personal injury claims for whiplash cases up to a value of £5,000 (a substantial majority of such cases) would be a small claim.  This means that no solicitor would take on your case unless you paid them and furthermore they would not be able to recover any costs from the responsible party’s insurer.

Not to worry as after all you, like the tens of thousands of other injured drivers or passengers who suffer a low velocity neck/back injury, will no doubt be quite capable of sorting out matters directly with the insurers of the responsible party – you understand the law of tort, you know what to claim in respect of special damages, you understand the law of car hire or loss of use, and of course you are very able to assess what your injury claim is worth.  Beyond that you know how to ensure that you are getting a fair deal from the insurer, that their offers to settle are reasonable and their “assistance” in resolving your unfortunate claim is in yours and not their best interests.

Maybe you will not be able to negotiate a settlement and being the new breed of lay lawyer that you will have created you will issue Court proceedings and ask the Court to help with your claim.  After all now that you have decided that your injury claim will be a small claim, the insurer will probably not deal with you until you have actually issued proceedings.  The Courts of course will now be inundated with thousands of equally fair minded people like you all wanting justice – listing your case may take a while – months, maybe even longer, and no doubt the Court fees you will pay to ensure we have enough judges to hear all these cases will be worth it.  Indeed the Court system could well be a recipe for music hall, with an unrepresented claimant up against an unrepresented defendant.

I know that you are persistent and having had your day in Court you will expect your settlement cheque immediately – good luck.

Oh, one more thing.  Remember to send your S-152 RTA letter to the insurers if you are unable to use the portal system, as if you do not there is no liability on any insurers to settle any claim.

Also, don’t forget what to do if the person who caused your injury was not insured.

As I said at the start of this letter, drive carefully and let’s hope others do too and as a result the thousands of car accidents and subsequent injuries that follow will be a thing of the past.  Then perhaps we can have an idyllic situation with no need for PI lawyers or indeed insurers.

You know how to reach me if by some misfortune you need some legal help or guidance.

Yours sincerely

Lloyd Green

Senior Partner

Lloyd Green Solicitors

Kensal House

77 Springfield Road

Chelmsford

Essex CM2 6JG

01245 294645

lloyd.green@lloyd-green.co.uk

www.forthepeople.co.uk