Over the last few years whiplash claims have been a topic of controversy. Car owners are becoming well aware that such claims have slowly been increasing their insurance premiums, with today’ estimates at about £90 for every policy. This is down to the fact that while a whiplash payout could range in amounts from £750 up to £14,000 the legal fees required are far out weighing the pay out, and the insurer has to cover these costs. In addition despite the number of road traffic accidents falling by about 20% over the last six years, the number of whiplash claims has dramatically risen by 60%.
In an attempt to reduce the legal costs and encourage more insurers to challenge these types of claims the Justice Secretary, Chris Grayling, has announced that the small claims court will now be able to handle personal injury/whiplash claims up to £5,000 up from the £1,000 that it currently stands at. This will allow few claims to reach the County Court and alleviate the system somewhat. He has also said that all claims will be assessed by an independent medical panel.
Mr Grayling wants to protect the honest motorists that he says "have been bearing the price of a system that has been open to abuse."
The changes have of course not been without opposition, particularly from the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers who have said that these more stringent measures will effect the vulnerable and limit their access to justice.
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Setfords Solicitors are a national full service law firm, with personal injury Solicitors in Guildford and across the country.