Broadly speaking, the personal injury legal system in the United Kingdom has not changed considerably in the last two decades. Since the introduction of the Conditional Fee Arrangement (CFA) also known as the 'no win no fee' arrangement, the personal injury legal system has been ticking over much the same. As we approach the end of 2012 however, some changes are in the pipeline.
For this reason, My Compensation has put together the following article to answer questions of how the pending changes are likely to affect people considering claiming for being personally injured in the United Kingdom. It's worth noting that not all of these decisions have been finalised and so are likely to change. The information in this article is based on the most up-to-date projections and news stories from reliable authority sources.
1. When are the changes to the personal-injury system likely to take place?
While the changes have been pushed back once already, it is likely that their implementation will be seen in April 2013. It's not entirely beyond the realms of possibility that further delays will be seen.
2. If I lose, will my attempts to get compensated have cost me money?
If you have launched your personal injury claim prior to April of 2013 then you should still be able to benefit from the 'no-win no fee' system. This means that the claim will not cost you anything. After April 2013, it will have cost you money to claim.
3. Does my case qualify to receive financial help via the Legal Aid Bill?
Personal injury cases are not on the Legal Aid Bill (this is the main reason why the no win no fee system was introduced in the first instance) and so it is highly unlikely that you will be able to receive financial help this description.
4. Will I still be able to use the small claims court?
At this stage, there are no plans to abolish the small claims court and the amounts which can be claimed by the system may be increased, making it more accessible for injured claimants seeking recompense.
5. Why is the government making additional risk for the personally injured?
The government is responding to media pressure surrounding the compensation culture and that it's seeking to raise the risk of launching this type of legal case in order to reduce the amount of claims compensating people from injuries being made in the UK.
6. When are the decisions about the proposed changes likely to be finalised?
At this stage, it is unknown as to when we will see the final stages of the proposed changes. While the government has deadlines to meet, it needs to ensure that decisions are made correctly.
7. Why is it taking so long to decide how to change the laws surrounding personal injury claims?
The initial proposed changes released by the government were met with adverse reactions from organisations such as the Law Society which plays a critical role to legislation in the UK. Independent surveys showed that the government's plans would be counter-productive and so it has effectively gone back to the drawing board.
8. I have a personal injury claim underway already; will that be affected?
It is unlikely that personal injury compensation claims launched prior to April 2013 will be affected but, at this stage, it is unknown for sure.
9. Will the changes to personal injury law also affect car accident claims?
Car accident claims are essentially those where persons have been injured. This means that being compensated for vehicle crashes and the claims which follow will also be affected.
10. What else should I take into consideration regarding these changes?
There is some discussion in the personal injury sector about some legal practices potentially closing down for business. It's recommended that during this interim period, while things are still being decided, people considering this course of legal action could opt for established nationwide injury firms rather than smaller practices which may experience difficulty adjusting.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.