Elena Manukyan posted on June 8, 2021
Personal Injury Solicitors – Who Needs Them?
If you believe the Government, you may be forgiven for thinking no-one. But if you take notice of consumer opinion, which is what really matters, then they might just disagree here.
I ran a poll on my LinkedIn account (which, by the way if you are on LinkedIn and we aren’t connected, send me a connection request) which showed that out of the 145 people that took part over 7 days, 95 would still use a personal injury solicitor to pursue a claim. This is despite being able to pursue the claim themselves. As a percentage, 66% would still seek legal assistance, compared to 34% that would go it alone.
And by the way this is a sample from my LinkedIn connections only, many of whom are professionals in the legal, insurance or motor industry.
What does this small sample tell you? That people will still want help with their claims.
Why? I believe there are a few reasons for this:
1. Time and effort – we live busy lives, the idea of navigating a new Litigant in Person portal is no-one’s idea of fun, not even for those who might be perfectly capable of doing so.
2. Inequality of arms (sorry I couldn’t resist using that term) – many people will simply not have the confidence to pursue their own claims against large insurance companies. They want and need someone on their side…someone like a solicitor.
3. Is it worth it? – most people won’t know what their injury or claim is worth, particularly if they haven’t claimed previously, so how will they know if it’s even worth bringing one?
So now we have a brief understanding why litigants in person might be put off pursuing their own claims, let’s have a look at the legal changes we have coming up from 31st May 2021.
I want to keep my newsletters short and useful, so I won’t go into lots of detail but give you the information that I think is important to understand now.
One of the biggest changes that we will see is the VALUE of whiplash injuries has been significantly reduced. Here’s a breakdown of the new tariffs, which you may have already seen:
Duration of Injury (Lower and Upper Tariff)
Not more than 3 months £240 - £260
3 – 6 months £495 - £520
6 – 9 months £840 - £895
9 – 12 months £1,320 - £1,390
12 -15 months £2,040 - £2,125
15 – 18 months £3,005 - £3,100
18 – 24 months £4,215 - £4,345
The upper tariff (Reg 2(1)(a)) is inclusive of any minor psychological injuries.
In addition, the small claims limit for all Road Traffic Accidents is increasing to £5,000.00, but this will exclude vulnerable road users including motor cyclists and pillion/sidecar passengers, cyclists, pedestrians, horse riders and those using mobility scooters, where the small claims limit remains at £1,000.00. This category of road users should see no difference to how they pursue their claims, although it is unclear just how many solicitors will continue to take on personal injury cases post-reform.
Why does the small claim limit matter? Because it means legal costs are no longer recoverable from the other side.
With no legal costs recoverable the question then becomes how can solicitors continue to pursue low value road traffic accident claims when there is very little money in doing so. This is something that many firms will currently be trying to figure out…
I hope you have enjoyed my first newsletter, although I suspect like for many these reforms bring a period of worry and uncertainty for you, as much as they do for me. My plan has always been to remain in the RTA claims market to help my clients, but it certainly wont be easy.
I am always available for a chat with anybody who may be concerned about how these changes will affect their business. I can be reached on 0161 7577 115 or via email at email@example.com.