The Law Society has criticised motor insurers for failing to pass on savings of over £500m created by the Road Traffic Accident portal.
The society believes that the portal deals with around 80 per cent of all personal injury claims;saving insurance companies over half a million pounds since it was implemented in April 2010.
The Ministry of Justice is now planning to extend the portal to include claims up to the value of £25,000, while also including employers’ and public liability cases. A spokesperson for the society said that they had ‘no confidence’ that savings made from future Jackson reform changes would be passed on to the consumer. They added:
“The fixed costs which are payable were negotiated and agreed by stakeholders including the ABI.
“Despite this agreement, and the resulting massive savings in legal costs, there is no evidence that insurers have passed on these savings, despite promises made during the RTA portal negotiations in 2009.”
Road Traffic Accident Portal Costs Not Increased
The society has said that although road traffic accident portal fees have not increased, the government still wants to reduce portal costs without the necessary evidence or research having been undertaken.
“It is a feature of our legal system that such claimants should not be out of pocket as a result of bringing a claim against a wrong doer. Those who will be supporting them need to be appropriately remunerated and there needs to be proper evidence to justify changes.”
There is a concern that the Jackson reforms and cuts to legal aid would mean that victims pursuing legitimate claims for compensation would be denied access to justice. The Law Society also criticised the suggestion that referral fees have increased legal costs, and that the prohibition of them for personal injury cases will result in increased profits for solicitors.
“There is not only no empirical evidence to substantiate this argument but there is overwhelming evidence pointing to the opposite.”
The proposal to extend the Road Traffic Accident portal to include employer’s and public liability claims has also attracted criticism. Karl Tonks, the president of the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL), has said that the Ministry of Justice has not done its groundwork and is following an ‘unrealistic’ timetable. However the Law Society said that it accepted the expansion of the portal ‘in principle’.
- Duncan Gibbins Solicitors are personal injury specialists who deal with all types of claims. To speak to a member of our team about a road traffic accident call
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