First Personal Injury

First Personal Injury

January 26, 2012 05:54 ET

Access to Justice Opposition for Personal Injury Claims

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM--(Marketwire - Jan. 26, 2012) - In 2010 Lord Justice Jackson published a report for the Government with recommendations on how to change the law in order to reform the costs of making a personal injury claim. One of the main suggestions was to abolish the ability for the solicitors of innocent victims of accidents to recover 'success fees' from the insurers of the person at fault. Success fees help solicitors to fund riskier cases on a no win no fee basis which otherwise my never be taken on.

'No Win, No Fee' agreements have been around for over 10 years and are used to protect people injured in accidents that were not their fault, from having to pay large legal bills should they lose their claim. Under the current system an insurance policy is taken out to protect the victim from having to pay legal costs if they lose. If you win, the losing party pays the costs of the winning side.

The new proposals plan to abolish the right to reclaim the costs of this insurance from the other side, along with the solicitor's success fee, meaning that the victims could have to pay the success fee out of their compensation. Currently this is paid for by the other side in successful personal injury claims. The new proposals may also expose accident victims to the risk of having to pay the other party's legal fees in the event of an unsuccessful claim, which is something they are not exposed to under the current system. As a consequence some riskier cases may not be taken on by injury lawyers on behalf of their clients.

We at First Personal Injury believe that these proposed changes are unfair on innocent victims of accidents and that the only people to benefit from them are insurance companies who stand to gain £2.5 billion.

Recent research shows that 600,000 people per year injured through accidents through no fault of their own, require solicitors to act for them on a 'No Win, No Fee' basis. If the Government accepts Lord Jackson's changes to the law, at least 450,000 accident victims per year will lose up to 25% of their compensation and 150,000 will no longer be able to claim their rights at all. If compensation claimants lose their case they may be liable to pay the other side's costs under the new proposals.

The Jackson report has been condemned by solicitors, along with senior judges and other campaign groups, due to the unfairness of making people injured in accidents that are not their fault, potentially having to lose a large portion of their compensation to pay for legal fees that are currently paid for by the losing side.

Another potential consequence of the proposed changes is that solicitors may be more reluctant to take on complex cases such as medical negligence claims, further denying innocent victims access to justice.

A survey commissioned by Access for Justice Action Group (AJAG) showed that 77% of potential claimants would be put off from making a claim if there was a chance that they would have to pay the other side's costs if they lost their claim.

First Personal Injury believes that the fault party should pay the victim's costs should they lose. At First Personal Injury we do not believe that victims should have to pay for the costs of their claim out of their compensation.

AJAG are campaigning against the proposed changes to the law on 'No Win No Fee' agreements. They have set up a website where you can e-mail your MP to ask them to oppose the changes that will prevent access to justice for hundreds of thousands of innocent victims of accidents. You can e-mail your MP by clicking on the link below:

About First Personal Injury

First Personal Injury is a leading firm of specialist personal injury lawyers based in the North West and acting on behalf of Claimants nationwide.

First Personal Injury has a wealth of experience in dealing with personal injury matters and is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority. First Personal Injury is a member of the Law Society's Personal Injury Panel and is also a panel member of Headway, the brain injury charity. First Personal Injury is a member of the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL). Most cases are conducted on a 'no win, no fee' basis. First Personal Injury's goal is to ensure that Client's receive the best possible advice whilst maximising their claim and ensuring they receive 100% of their compensation.

Contact Information

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    claim, please contact First Personal Injury free
    and confidentially on 0800 014 1629.