Big changes are looming ever closer as the Legal Aid and Prison Reform Act (LAPSO) nears its debut in April 2013. Lamb & Co are quick to recognise that the biggest losers of this legislation will be the people who have been inflicted with injuries through no fault of their own. These are the victims that we work tirelessly for to ensure that they receive a compensation payment that suits the injuries that they may have to live with for the rest of their lives.
There has been a well publicised, sometimes acrimonious and heated debate that has been going on now prior to and throughout the LAPSO process between personal injury solicitors, the insurance industry, the media and politicians on all sides of the political divide. In all the smoke and thunder, it is the accident victims who seem to be the very people whose interests have been forgotten about.
Up to April 2013, and under current law, the accident victims will always receive the full compensation payments won for them without any deduction for legal fees. These are paid by the insurance company or the person or persons who inflicted the injury.
Part of the LAPSO Act changes will confirm that from April 2013 the victim will have to pay the legal fees out of their compensation payment, thus unleashing responsibility from the insurance company. The expectation is that insurance companies will lower their premiums for vehicle insurance as they will be saving on legal fees.
Part of the rationale behind the changes to be introduced is evidence that a minority of victims who are involved in an accident are claiming for injuries such as whiplash, which have been falsified.
Whiplash is one example of an injury that has been a particular concern amongst the media, the government and insurance companies. The main reason for this is that it is so difficult to accurately diagnose, as certain external signs of injury are not in evidence. This doesn’t mean we halt all claims for whiplash and label them as “bogus.” For those of us in our communities who have to deal with a person whose had their neck traumatised in a road accident, especially if it was not their fault – whiplash is very real and can be extremely debilitating.
There are many other life-changing injuries such as a brain injury and a spinal injury that can ruin a victim’s life forever. A financial compensation for injuries caused by another person often only covers for those immediate things such as extra care in the home, loss of income and mobility support equipment. It never truly covers for the loss of quality of life that so often accompanies serious injuries.
Penalising the victims by asking them to pay our fees on top of all their other additional expenses is letting the person or people responsible for the accident and their insurance company off the hook. It will inevitably also lead to those less well endowed victims of genuine personal injuries from lodging any claims at all, as they may think they will gain little financially from their efforts.
We at Lamb & Co are not only committed to serving those in our community who have had the misfortune to suffer an injury from workplace or road traffic accident but we offer free home visits within the UK.