The following is a guest post. Enjoy!
As of April 2013, referral fees in the personal injury sector have become illegal. Previously, when a personal injury occurred, the claimant would find legal help through a third party or middleman. This would usually be a claims management company or insurer. They would then receive a generous payment for their pains.
The government decided to outlaw these fees because they feel they push up costs and encourage a compensation culture in the UK. Between 2012 and 2013, 477,000 whiplash claims were made. In fact, compared with the EU, the UK makes 30% more whiplash claims. Are British necks softer? No. It’s thought that ‘ambulance chasing’ in this country had increased the amount of spurious claims, and this was fueled by referral fees.
The government hoped this would also pan out to halt pest texts and cold callers. But with the industry priced at £600m, nobody wants to put them out of business altogether.
On the flipside, these referral companies have actually increased the access to justice for many. And ‘no win, no fee’ solicitors have little incentive to take on weak or spurious cases.
How Effective Will The Ban Be On Reducing Personal Injury Claims?
It’s likely that there will be little to no effect. All this has done is forced referral fees to go underground. Referral fees actually have no fixed definition, so it’s entirely possible to outsource ‘marketing’ to another company and pay them in kind. Alternative business structures will appear left, right, and center.
How You Can Make A Personal Injury Claim
If you have suffered a personal injury, don’t let the government stop you from accessing the justice you deserve.
Start by amassing the evidence for your case. This could mean gathering photographs or taking down the details of witnesses. Make sure that you get the proof you need to pursue your case. This will also mean going straight to your doctor, even if you think the injuries are minor, and receiving a diagnosis.
Find a personal injury law firm – which specializes in your type of injury – that you like, and gives you a good quote. They should be able to kick off the proceedings for you, while you convalesce at home. Sometimes, you can secure compensation, without having to go to court; in fact, the majority of cases are settled this way.
However, before you can pursue your case any further, you will have to get reasonably well. Focus on your health, follow all of your doctor’s instructions, and relax. You may have to take time off work, so remember to take note of how much wages you lose through this. It may be possible to recover this sum, on top of personal injury compensation.
The government can hope to reduce personal injury figures, but if accidents happen, people are likely to lose out financially. And not everyone can afford that.