In the Queen’s speech last week the Government reiterated their intention to introduce legislation to limit the compensation paid to the innocent victims of road traffic accidents. The aim is to reduce the so called ‘rampant compensation culture’ which has apparently earned us the title of the ‘whiplash capital of Europe’. We do however have 50 per cent more traffic for each kilometre of road than the European average, and more than double the amount of traffic for each kilometre of road than France. That we have more than twice the number of road traffic collisions resulting in injuries is a reflection of this.
My observations on the proposals are nicely summed up by the Shadow justice secretary, Richard Burgon and Brett Dixon, the president of the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers. Richard said: “The government had an opportunity to ditch their ill-considered whiplash reforms. There is no evidence of any "compensation culture". History shows that insurers have not passed on savings to motorists. In the last parliament, the saving to motorists was £50 and now it’s £35. The Tories are helping their insurance industry friends over helping ordinary people get justice.”
Brett comments “the government ‘continues to fire at the wrong target’ and said insurers’ profits have risen since the last major civil justice reforms in 2013. He added: ‘The government tries to appease motorists but, in reality, their right to redress when they are injured will be diminished in exchange for a promise of lower premiums which will not be kept.”
By Sara Westwood who can be contacted on firstname.lastname@example.org
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