Personal injury compensation awards made to claimants will be going up by 10 per cent next year, according to a recent decision by the Court of Appeal.
The new rules come just in time, as next April will see the new Legal Aid Act going into effect. The new legislation will see the way no win no fee legal claims play out in a significant manner, as personal injury lawyers will no longer be able to recover their costs and success fees from losing defendants but will instead take them off the top of their clients’ damages awards.
Many have expressed fear that this would strip back the compensation that claimants will get by a sizable margin. Luckily, the new Court of Appeal decision means that there will now be a 10 per cent cushion for claimants in order to pay their legal team.
Of course, some solicitors have complained that an extra 10 per cent isn’t enough to pay all of the legal costs that are incurred by bringing a claim. These legal experts have said that many law firms may begin cherry-picking their clients with an eye towards the ones that stand to receive the largest compensation awards in order to maximise their own profits, thus leading to a loss in access to justice for less high-profile personal injury claims.
Of course – and this is only speculation – it could turn out that the ‘ambulance chasers’ are about to be drummed out of business. Instead, only the more reputable law firms, the ones that are more interested in seeing justice served than how much cash they can rake in from insurers on whiplash claims, will be left.