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Martin Malone comments on the important report of the Justice Select Committee about road traffic accident and other personal injury claims

I don't often make a plea but please read this in full. It will take you no more than a couple of minutes.

For years, the Government has been kow-towing to the insurance lobby by suggesting that victims of road traffic accidents are fraudulent claimants who are just after a quick buck as part of the so-called "compensation culture". The truth is that lots of people suffer injuries as the result of road traffic accidents and, for over 100 years, our legal system has provided that compensation is payable if you suffer injuries as the result of an accident that was not your fault. It makes sense, and that is why drivers are required to have insurance in case they cause an accident. I was involved in an accident three weeks ago, when my static car suddenly lurched forward and damaged two cars in front of me, I lodged the claim and the compensation is being arranged. That is why we have insurance.

Yes, there are people who have exploited the system by staging "cash for crash" fraud but they are in a tiny minority. For most people involved in an accident (and I expect that most people reading this have been), the obvious thing is to submit a perfectly legitimate claim and recover the compensation that they are properly entitled to, not paid by the other driver but, quite properly, by the insurer.

So, the Government is planning to increase the limit for legal representation for these claims to injuries with a value of over £5000. That excludes broken bones and psychological injuries. You are expected to run the claim yourself, online (what if you're not computer literate or accessible?) and to deal with gathering evidence, preparing court-compliant witness statements, disclosing documents, obtaining medical evidence (a medico-legal report, not just a visit to a GP) and representing yourself if, as is much more likely, your claim is defended.

Thankfully, the Justice Select Committee has recognised that this is nonsense and has explained why, in detail, in its report: https://publications.parliament.uk/…/cms…/cmjust/659/659.pdf
published today.

I urge you to read it and I'm delighted to note that Canter Levin & Berg's contribution has been cited, recognising the impact on jobs in North West England:

“The law firm Canter Levin and Berg Ltd observed:

“The notion that law firms will find other areas in which to practice is nonsensical as while everyone can retrain, the market for other types of legal advice will not expand simply because the personal injury market has been culled.”"

The Committee observed:

“We consider it regrettable that, at the consultation stage of these proposals, the Ministry of Justice concluded that it was not relevant to estimate the potentially substantial impact on the PI legal sector, particularly in the North West. It is also unclear to us why the Ministry’s final stage Impact Assessment has assumed that the sector will be able to replace PI legal work with work of equivalent value. While our inquiry did not focus on this issue, we nonetheless draw the Ministry’s attention to the impact of the reforms on the PI legal sector and the potential for this sector to replace PI work that it loses, both of which we consider to be important questions.”

Please contact your MP and ask him or her to read the report. It is compelling.

Georgina Clements comments on Liverpool's worsening potholes issue

The country has recently experienced the most severe weather conditions in a long time with the so-called ‘beast from the East’ making reoccurring appearances.  The severe weather left airports and schools closed as well as many people left stranded on motorways overnight in their vehicles.

The downside of such weather conditions is that it causes an increase in the number of potholes appearing on our roads.

On a particular route in Liverpool which I take daily to work, along London Road, it is no longer a case of keeping on your side of the road and driving in a straight line but more of a zig-zag drive avoiding potholes that you know will damage your vehicle and even possibly injure yourself or passengers.

It is common knowledge that most local authorities are struggling to keep up with the repairs and other damage caused by these potholes as budgets are cut and no-one can predict recent weather conditions.

Depending on the size of the pothole, these can cause injury, loss of insurance excess, vehicle and bicycle damage.  If you are driving or cycling down an unfamiliar, unlit road of a night, there is almost no chance of avoiding these potholes.

Should you be unfortunate to have experienced damage due to potholes, you should report the same to your local authority and submit a claim.  Additionally, you could discuss your experience online in order to help other road users avoid these potholes by stating which roads to avoid or to be more careful on.

If you need assistance with any injuries suffered as a driver or passenger due to poor road conditions, our Personal Injury team can advise you on this.  Otherwise, keep driving safely!