The government is trying to take away your right to free or affordable legal representation if you’re injured

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What do you need to know?

Currently…

If you are injured and it’s not your fault any legal fees, for a lawyer to fight for you to get back any wages you have lost and damages for your injuries, are paid by the person responsible for your injuries.
This is your right.

But soon…

The government plans to strip you of this right by increasing the small claims limit.* If your injury claim falls below the new small claims limit, you will have to pay for your own legal fees.

In future…

If you are a victim of injury – anywhere, including at work – you will have to pay for the legal help you need, and deserve, from your compensation or fight the insurers on your own in your own time.

* Currently, legal cases where the anticipated damages are less than £1,000 are heard in the small claims court. You can’t recover legal costs in the small claims court, so most people run cases by themselves without help from a lawyer. That’s fine when it’s a dispute over a mobile phone bill or a washing machine, but not when you’re dealing with a complicated personal injury case which might include police reports and will require medical reports and evidence about what happened. The government wants to increase the small claims limit 500% to £5,000; they accept that would mean 95% of personal injury cases would have to be heard in the small claims court.

Why is the government doing this?

The government is using a so-called “whiplash epidemic” as a fig-leaf when in fact insurers have paid out less and injury claims have gone down.

Insurers have paid out 30% less in motor accident costs than they did in 2010, saving them over £8bn.

Workplace accident claims have fallen 12% in the last decade.

Total number of injury cases has dropped by 6% since 2013.

The government and insurers say there is a problem with fraud. And yet they paid out 99% of all road traffic accident claims last year rather than fighting fraudulent claims. There is no suggestion of a problem with fraudulent workplace accident claims and yet these changes will affect anybody injured anywhere, including at work.

The government plans to change the law so that the innocent victims of injury will have to pay for their own legal fees, rather than them being paid by the person who caused their injury.

But what are the facts?

Tax Tax Tax

The government has increased insurance premium tax twice in the past year. The insurers have made you pay that.
You paid more.

+14%

Premiums are higher now than they were in 2010, and have increased by 14% in the last year.
You're paying more.

-12%

Government data shows employers liability claims (aka workplace accidents) dropped 12% over the last decade and there’s no allegation of fraud in these types of cases. So, why are they trying to sneak them into the reforms?
You lose rights.

So who is paying for this?

The government has announced that implementing its policy will lose the Treasury £135 million, so these one sided proposals will mean we are paying insurers twice – once as taxpayers and then again as motorists.

Oh, and they’ll cost the NHS £13 million – that’s before taking into account the associated in-patient or ambulance costs. And their figures are likely to be huge underestimates.


Who is really benefiting?

If these reforms go ahead insurers are set to profit from an additional £200 million per year. This is on top of already vastly over-inflated salaries. In 2015, the then CEOs of four insurance companies received packages ranging from £4.55 million to £11.55 million.

...

David Stevens, CEO

£11.55m

...

Henri de Castries, Former CEO

£4.55m*

...

Mark Wilson, CEO

£5.67m

...

Paul Geddes, CEO

£4.82m

*(5.43 EUR converted to GBP on 07 December 2016)

The government is letting insurance companies remove your right to legal advice and CEOs of insurance companies are pocketing your protection #FeedingFatCats

How are the changes going to affect you?

95% of all personal injury claims are valued at £5,000 or less. This means that regardless of where you’re injured – even at work, the chances are you will have to pay out most of what you recover in legal fees. Unless you choose to make a compensation claim by yourself, without the support of a professional lawyer. You’ll be up against a multinational company who will use a lawyer of course.

This will affect nearly one million people injured through no fault of their own each year.

The government has said that the changes mean that ‘some’ drivers ‘could’ save ‘about’ £40 on their car insurance premium. But it has admitted publicly that it won’t force insurers to pass on the savings they have said they will make.

And the money isn’t just coming out of your pocket…

The government has announced that implementing its policy will cost the NHS £13 million – and that’s before taking into account the associated in-patient or ambulance costs. Oh and the Treasury will lose £135 million. And their figures are likely to be huge underestimates.

When will a decision be made?

06 January 2017

The deadline that the government has given for receiving opinions on the proposed changes to the law, via a public consultation.

Between 06 January – 07 April 2017

The government will analyse all the responses and make a decision on whether, and in what form, to implement the changes.

April 2017

The government will announce any changes and confirm when these will come into effect.

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Until 07 April 2017

Don’t let the government take away your rights and access to justice

Take action! How can you try and stop this?

By letting the government know that you are against these changes, you can help to prevent nearly one million people a year from losing their right to legal protection.

Lobby Liz

Click here to send an automated tweet to Liz Truss, Secretary of State for (In)Justice, saying that you are against the government’s proposals.

Write to your MP

Click here to send a pre-drafted email to your MP, opposing the changes to the small claims limit. Simply copy and paste the content into your email client.

You can find the contact details for your local MP here.

Sign the e-petition

Sign the e-petition ‘Keep the Personal Injury Small Claims Limit at £1,000.’

At 10,000 signatures, the government will respond to the petition.

At 100,000 signatures, the petition will be considered for debate in Parliament.

Keep up to date

The #FeedingFatCats campaign is run by Thompsons Solicitors.