Matrix Solictors https://www.matrixsolicitors.net Wirral Personal Injury Solicitors Mon, 11 Dec 2017 11:14:47 +0000 en-GB hourly 1 Solicitors suspended for chasing victims of Grenfell Tower fire to launch claims https://www.matrixsolicitors.net/solicitors-suspended-chasing-victims-grenfell-tower-fire-launch-claims/ https://www.matrixsolicitors.net/solicitors-suspended-chasing-victims-grenfell-tower-fire-launch-claims/#respond Tue, 01 Aug 2017 11:31:28 +0000 https://www.matrixsolicitors.net/?p=3685 A LEADING UK law firm has suspended two trainee solicitors after they were accused of ambulance-chasing victims of the Grenfell Tower tragedy. The employees reportedly sought […]

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A LEADING UK law firm has suspended two trainee solicitors after they were accused of ambulance-chasing victims of the Grenfell Tower tragedy.

The employees reportedly sought to benefit from the tragedy by putting up a poster which offered legal support to people affected by the inferno.

The law firm concerned, Leigh Day, said they had no knowledge of the poster until it was brought to their attention.

The advert was headlined “Free Legal Support”, featured British passports and gave an email address for the two trainee solicitors which was different from their work contact details.

According to the Times, the poster said: “Our aim is to help you kick-start any potential insurance claims and review any complex documents.”

“We do not charge for the assistance we provide. However a third party may charge for their services.”

The Solicitors Regulation Authority and the Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner are both examining the poster amid wider concerns that Grenfell victims could be exploited by unscrupulous or unregulated advisers.

A spokesman for Leigh Day said: “Leigh Day have no prior knowledge of the posters displayed around the Grenfell Tower brought to our attention by The Times newspaper.

“As soon as the posters were brought to our attention, a full internal investigation was commenced under formal protocols. The two individuals concerned have been suspended whilst this investigation takes place.

“Leigh Day would never have given authority for the posters or their display and we are taking this matter extremely seriously.”

The North Kensington Law Centre, which is helping over 100 people who lived in the tower, said it was very concerned that families were vulnerable to exploitation.

As it stands, Leigh Day has no clients connected to Grenfell.

Last month, three Leigh Day lawyers accused of improperly pursuing murder and torture claims against British troops in Iraq were cleared of any wrongdoing.

*ARTICLE WRITTEN BY SAM SHOLLI FOR THE EXPRESS*

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Coxhoe man left almost blind in road accident ruled fit to work just weeks after coming out of coma https://www.matrixsolicitors.net/coxhoe-man-left-almost-blind-road-accident-ruled-fit-work-just-weeks-coming-coma/ https://www.matrixsolicitors.net/coxhoe-man-left-almost-blind-road-accident-ruled-fit-work-just-weeks-coming-coma/#respond Mon, 03 Jul 2017 11:12:19 +0000 https://www.matrixsolicitors.net/?p=3635 BENEFIT assessors have ruled a man left almost blind by a road accident as fit to work – just weeks after he came out of a […]

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BENEFIT assessors have ruled a man left almost blind by a road accident as fit to work – just weeks after he came out of a coma.

Alex Howe, from Coxhoe, County Durham, is blind in one eye and has severely reduced visibility in the other, struggles to walk and has lost hearing in one ear.

He was left reeling when he was told he is not eligible for disability benefits.

The father-of-one said: “It feels like I’m being called a liar. It’s a big weight on me. I can’t believe it.”

Mr Howe was seriously injured in a crash on February 2, when he was thrown into a metal post after his motorbike collided with a car near the Poachers Pub in Metal Bridge, between Coxhoe and Spennymoor.

After being airlifted to hospital, the 35-year-old was in a coma for ten days and had to spend almost two months in hospital recovering. He had a fractured face, back and ribs, and punctured lungs.

Mr Howe, who was a chef at KFC before the accident, was discharged from hospital on March 30 and applied for the Personal Independence Payment (PIP).

Following an assessment, he found out this week that he was not eligible for the disability benefit.

He said: “It gets you down not being able to do stuff for myself. I can’t even play games with my daughter. I used to be able to cook anything and the other day I nearly set fire to the house making a bacon sandwich.

“It feels like the assessment has been written about someone else.”

His father, John, has given up his job as a taxi driver and moved from his home in Crook to look after his son because he struggles to cook and go to the shops by himself.

He said: “They asked if he could lift his arms up. He’s almost blind but that doesn’t stop him from lifting his arms.

“It’s ridiculous and it’s affecting people’s lives. My son really needs it. People don’t deserve to be treated like this. They’re ruining people’s lives.”

A spokesperson for the Department of Work and Pensions said: “Decisions for PIP are made following consideration of all the information provided by the claimant, including supporting evidence from their GP or medical specialist.

“Anyone that disagrees with a decision can appeal.”

Roberta Blackman-Woods, MP for the City of Durham, said: “This is yet another horrific example of the effect government cuts have had on people’s everyday lives, and I have sadly seen too many cases like Alex’s around Durham.

“Earlier this year the Government overruled a decision made by an independent tribunal and further restricted Personal Independence Payments, without going through the proper Parliamentary channels. Unfortunately, the Conservative Government have a track record of introducing measures that disproportionally effect those with a disability and they are excluding 160,000 disabled people from the support they are rightfully entitled to.”

In 2016-17 Citizens Advice County Durham helped more than 5,500 people with PIP assessments, including more than 1,000 people who wanted to challenge the decision.

Chief executive Neil Bradbury said: “This sort of story is all too common. We get a lot of people who are quite surprised at the PIP assessments and we have seen a lot of clients who are not happy about the results.

“In many cases its challengeable and we encourage people with PIP problems to come and speak to us.

“It’s incredibly common and it’s a big problem.”

*This article was written by Rachel Conner for the Northern Echo*

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Tories ‘consider’ ban on personal injury cold calling https://www.matrixsolicitors.net/tories-consider-ban-personal-injury-cold-calling/ https://www.matrixsolicitors.net/tories-consider-ban-personal-injury-cold-calling/#respond Fri, 19 May 2017 12:16:47 +0000 https://www.matrixsolicitors.net/?p=3608 An incoming Tory government would reduce the cost of car insurance premiums by ‘cracking down on exaggerated and fraudulent’ whiplash claims and consider a ban on […]

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An incoming Tory government would reduce the cost of car insurance premiums by ‘cracking down on exaggerated and fraudulent’ whiplash claims and consider a ban on personal injury cold calling.

The pledges were made in the party’s manifesto, published today (18 May).

Simon Trott, managing director of National Accident Helpline and a founding member of the Ethical Marketing Charter, hailed the Conservatives’ decision on combatting nuisance calls.

‘We’ve long called for this as part of the Ethical Marketing Charter which has been actively making the case to government and regulators to stamp out cold calls.

‘But there’s still more to do to protect consumers from other forms of nuisance marketing, such as through texts and emails. We urge the next government to introduce a ban on all forms of unsolicited marketing to ensure they’re a tactic of the past.’

Elsewhere, the manifesto promises the appointment of an ‘Independent Public Advocate’ to act for bereaved families following a public disaster and support them at a public inquest.

The pledge is aimed at ensuring ‘the pain and suffering’ of the Hillsborough families ‘is not repeated’.

The Conservatives also pledged to enshrine ‘victims’ entitlements’ in law, to make clear to victims of crime what level of service they can expect from the police, courts, and criminal justice system.

Publicly-funded lawyers will be required to undertake ‘specialist training’ in the handling of victims before taking on sexual offences cases.

Highlighting that legal services are ‘a major British export’ that ‘underpin our professional services sector’, the Tories promised to continue to modernising the court estate by improving buildings and facilities for the benefit of court users.

Over £1bn will also be invested to modernise the prison estate, creating 10,000 more prison places.

The Conservatives also pledged to dismantle the UK’s Serious Fraud Office and roll it into the wider National Crime Agency if they win June’s general election.

David Corker, a partner at Corker Binning, described the plan as ‘a pity’. ‘Under its current director [David Green CB QC], the SFO is proving its effectiveness as a specialist economic crime enforcer. Its work on overseas bribery and raising corporate standards in that regard is world-class.

‘The NCA has not yet proved its effectiveness and there is a great danger that the fight against fraud would be compromised if the SFO’s work was absorbed into its broad remit.’

The Tories also promise to ‘strengthen legal services regulation and restrict legal aid for unscrupulous law firms that issue vexatious legal claims against the armed forces’. It was also announced that UK troops will in future not be subject to European Court of Human Rights.

The EU charter of fundamental rights will not be re-enacted. However, the UK will remain a signatory to the European Convention on Human Rights during the next parliament, and, in a surprise U-turn, the Human Rights Act will not be repealed during the Brexit process.

ARTICLE FIRST APPEARED IN SOLICITORS JOURNAL

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Stricter punishments for speeding offences in England and Wales https://www.matrixsolicitors.net/stricter-punishments-speeding-offences-england-wales/ https://www.matrixsolicitors.net/stricter-punishments-speeding-offences-england-wales/#respond Tue, 25 Apr 2017 13:44:04 +0000 https://www.matrixsolicitors.net/?p=3586 Tougher punishments for the most serious speeding offences have come into force in England and Wales. Under new guidelines, fines for drivers caught doing 51mph in […]

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Tougher punishments for the most serious speeding offences have come into force in England and Wales.

Under new guidelines, fines for drivers caught doing 51mph in a 30mph zone or 101mph on a motorway will start from 150% of weekly income, rather than the previous level of 100%.

The Sentencing Council said it wanted a “clear increase in penalty” as the seriousness of offending increases.

Motoring groups have broadly welcomed the new guidelines for magistrates.

Some 244 people were killed in crashes that occurred when a driver was breaking the speed limit on Britain’s roads in 2015.

The new Band C fines will allow the worst offenders to face fines of between 125 and 175% of their weekly income – with the starting point for magistrates in most cases set at 150%.

The maximum fine, however, remains the same, meaning a speeding driver cannot be fined more than £1,000 unless the offence takes place on a motorway, where the limit is £2,500.

AA president Edmund King said it was right that “extreme offenders” were punished “severely”.

He added: “Responsible drivers will welcome the changes coming into force today.

“The majority of drivers who keep to the correct speed, as well as driving to the conditions, won’t be affected.

“It is only those who deliberately drive dangerously who will end up in court.”

RAC Foundation director Steve Gooding said while the new measures “underline how seriously the courts take speeding offences”, the limit on fines means there is not a “level playing field”.

He also questioned whether police officers have enough resources to ensure the tougher punishments have an impact on road safety.

Mr Gooding said: “While we broadly support linking the amount of the penalty with income, the cap on the level of fines means that this link is broken for high-income drivers – hardly a level playing field.”

Gary Rae, campaigns director for road safety charity Brake, said: “Toughening the fines and penalties for speeding is long overdue.

“I hope that magistrates ensure the new sentences are consistently applied.”

Sentence levels for less serious offences are not changing.

**This Article was first published on BBC NEWS**

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Man sues museum after hitting a wall in race to beat virtual Cathy Freeman https://www.matrixsolicitors.net/man-sues-museum-hitting-wall-race-beat-virtual-cathy-freeman/ https://www.matrixsolicitors.net/man-sues-museum-hitting-wall-race-beat-virtual-cathy-freeman/#respond Fri, 21 Apr 2017 11:13:09 +0000 https://www.matrixsolicitors.net/?p=3581 An Australian man has launched legal action after coming off second best to a virtual Cathy Freeman in an interactive exhibit. Visitors to Melbourne’s Scienceworks museum […]

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An Australian man has launched legal action after coming off second best to a virtual Cathy Freeman in an interactive exhibit.

Visitors to Melbourne’s Scienceworks museum are invited to pit themselves against a simulation of the Olympic 400m gold medallist on a 10m dual-lane track.

When Dean Smith gave it a go in June last year, he ran into a wall, severely injuring himself.

Fairfax reported that Smith was now suing the Museums Board of Victoria, which operates the museum in Spotswood, for negligence for unspecified damages.

“All these little things made me think I could beat her, I got a bit competitive, thinking ‘I can take on Cathy Freeman’,” he told Fairfax. “Then when I was 30cm from the wall I saw what was going to stop me.”

In a writ lodged in the Victorian supreme court last week, he argued that the museum had failed to prevent the risk of injury and that the track was poorly lit and should not have led to a wall.

In his statement of claim, he said he had fractured one vertebra and crushed another one; fractured an occipital bone and a rib; and lost feeling in his arms, hands and fingers in the incident.

He had a psychiatric disorder and had also subsequently suffered a stroke, he said.

“No one wants to run flat-out and put their head into a wall,” he was quoted as saying by Fairfax.

The Herald-Sun quoted Smith’s wife, Rachel: “When he arrived at the trauma unit … they said to me he’s pretty much done the closest job to knocking his head off his shoulders as you possibly can without dying.”

Smith, a pool glass installer, said he had been unable to work since the accident and he was in constant pain.

Nick Korkliniewski, from the Arnold Thomas and Becker law firm specialising in personal injury cases, said his client’s significant injuries were a result of Scienceworks’ “lack of duty of care”.

“Mr Smith was enticed to run as fast as he could in a poorly lit exhibit with only a very short stopping distance at the end of the race, no warnings or appropriate signage,” he told Fairfax.

Scienceworks invites visitors to take part in “sporting challenges” in its Sportworks exhibit, “a place to leap, run, throw and row”.

“Pit your skills against some of Australia’s best-known sportspeople and investigate your body’s abilities for particular sports. Are you tall? Flexible? Can you jump high, run fast or react quickly?”

A spokeswoman for Museums Victoria told Guardian Australia that Scienceworks was unable to comment on active legal proceedings.

She added: “Scienceworks has been one of Melbourne’s favourite attractions for a quarter of a century, and is absolutely committed to the safety of the hundreds of thousands of children and families who visit every year.”

Article by Elle Hunt for The Guardian

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Number of motorists caught driving while banned rises https://www.matrixsolicitors.net/number-motorists-caught-driving-banned-rises/ https://www.matrixsolicitors.net/number-motorists-caught-driving-banned-rises/#respond Tue, 07 Feb 2017 10:50:24 +0000 https://www.matrixsolicitors.net/?p=3514 The number of people in Britain caught driving while already banned has increased by 7.5%, according to figures obtained by BBC Radio 5 live. Some 14,500 […]

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The number of people in Britain caught driving while already banned has increased by 7.5%, according to figures obtained by BBC Radio 5 live.

Some 14,500 people were caught driving without a licence last year, Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency data shows.

In total, 109,660 motorists were banned from driving, with the youngest being 12 and the oldest 94.

One chief constable said she was “very concerned” about the number of people disregarding driving bans.

One example included a motorist who was caught driving while banned four times in 12 months.

The same person was also convicted for failing to stop and driving without insurance at least three times.

‘Risk to all’

In all, three 12-year-olds were banned last year, and cases such as theirs are dealt with by the courts in a similar way to adults.

Too young to legally drive, a non-licence holder record is set up in their name on the DVLA’s database, and the offender can then only apply for a licence once their ban has expired.

Gloucestershire Chief Constable Suzette Davenport, road policing lead for the National Police Chiefs Council, said: “Generally some people who are disqualified will also be involved in other types of criminality and that might have contributed to them being banned.

“But they’ll be people who are driving without insurance because they can’t get insurance, because they’re disqualified drivers, and so that immediately poses a risk to all of us.”


‘Destroyed my life’

Mandy Stock is all too familiar with the dangers that disqualified drivers can pose.

Her husband, Paul, was killed by a banned driver just a short walk from his front door in 2012.

Graham Godwin was described as “an absolute menace on the roads” when he was sentenced to a two-year ban – the maximum available at the time.

Godwin had 12 previous convictions for driving without insurance, nine for driving while disqualified and three for drink driving.

Mandy said her husband’s death had a devastating impact: “It destroyed my life. [Paul and I] ran a business together for 25 years, which I had to shut down.

“The customers would just come in and say ‘Oh, where’s Paul?’ or ‘Paul did an estimate’ and having to continually explain to people over and over and over again what had happened, it just destroyed my life.”


North Yorkshire Police Traffic Constable Dan Hughes and his colleagues use intelligence, automatic number plate recognition technology and sometimes luck to track down offenders.

“There are disqualified drivers out there who will pay no regard whatsoever to the law and the justice system, and if they are told they are disqualified they will just flout that without blinking an eye,” he said.

“I came across a person just a couple of weeks ago – I was dealing with him for other offences as well as driving while disqualified. He was disqualified six times over already.

“People who drive while disqualified will keep getting disqualified.”

Driver education

Mandy Stock was so incensed by the two-year sentence that her husband’s killer received that she forced a change in the law.

Now any driver killing someone while banned from driving can be sentenced to up to 10 years in jail.

Ms Davenport said the police service was running education campaigns to try to stop people from being banned in the first place, alongside technology to help catch those who flout the law.

But she accepts some drivers will carry on regardless.

“We generally keep on arresting them and they end up in jail,” she added.

*ARTICLE WRITTEN BY THE BBC*

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Whiplash crackdown could cost 35,000 jobs, lawyers claim https://www.matrixsolicitors.net/whiplash-crackdown-cost-35000-jobs-lawyers-claim/ https://www.matrixsolicitors.net/whiplash-crackdown-cost-35000-jobs-lawyers-claim/#respond Mon, 23 Jan 2017 11:11:03 +0000 https://www.matrixsolicitors.net/?p=3500 The new crackdown on whiplash compensation could put thousands of jobs at risk, according to research commissioned by lawyers who argue the reforms will harm injured […]

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The new crackdown on whiplash compensation could put thousands of jobs at risk, according to research commissioned by lawyers who argue the reforms will harm injured motorists as well as their industry.

Researchers at Capital Economics found that 44,200 people work on personal injury cases in legal, medical and claims management jobs, while a further 40,000 depend more loosely on the industry through the supply chain and other spending.

In the study commissioned by the Access to Justice lobby group, Capital Economics found that 35,000 of these jobs would be at risk if small claims are kept out of the courts, with Manchester and surrounding counties likely to be the hardest-hit.

“The government quite properly flew ministers to India to try and rescue 10,000 steel jobs, yet our own Justice Secretary, whose job it is to nurture the law, is hell-bent on shutting down an entire industry and riding roughshod over important rights that have been part of British law for centuries,” said Martin Coyne, managing director of Ralli Solicitors and head of the industry’s campaign to water down the new rules.

Under reforms that were announced in 2015, the government plans to raise the limit on small personal injury compensation from £1,000 to £5,000, enabling more people to take their case to small claims court – without the need for a lawyer.

The rules would also ban settlements without medical checks and outlaw cash payments for minor injuries, replacing these payments with help towards rehabilitation for proven injuries. More than half a million people received compensation after a car accident last year.

The proposed changes would cut a total of £1.2bn a year from insurance costs, while claimant lawyers would lose £20m in revenues and medical reporters £23m, according to estimates by the Ministry of Justice.

Capital Economics found that more than one in four law firms in the industry will lose virtually all their revenues if the reforms go ahead.

Several large insurers have promised to pass on the savings to customers, and the Government claims the changes will cut £40 a year from each motor policy.

Insurance prices plunged after an earlier crackdown on injury claims in 2012, which required more stringent medical checks for whiplash and other tissue damage in an attempt to stamp out fraudulent or exaggerated claims.

However, premiums have jumped 14pc in the past year – a rise that the insurers have blamed on the upward march of bogus ailments, as well as repeated tax hikes on premiums.

The Capital Economics report has been sent to ministers involved in the reforms. A consultation on the new rules closed earlier this month.

“We all agree it’s necessary to reduce fraudulent and frivolous claims, and get rid of cold calling, but not at the expense of tens of thousands of jobs and for the sole benefit of insurance companies,” said Mr Coyne.

“There are better ways to maintain the historic and important rights of injured people to receive redress yet also tackle fraudsters who try and game the system.”

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Insurers, not lawyers, are the bad guys when it comes to whiplash https://www.matrixsolicitors.net/insurers-not-lawyers-bad-guys-comes-whiplash/ https://www.matrixsolicitors.net/insurers-not-lawyers-bad-guys-comes-whiplash/#respond Fri, 06 Jan 2017 09:53:18 +0000 https://www.matrixsolicitors.net/?p=3489 Consultations close tomorrow on reforms that will deny justice to thousands of innocent motorists caught up in accidents that are no fault of their own Whiplash, […]

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Consultations close tomorrow on reforms that will deny justice to thousands of innocent motorists caught up in accidents that are no fault of their own

Whiplash, eh. It’s all a big con, pushed by ambulance chasing lawyers at the expense of innocent motorists who pay higher insurance premiums as a result.

Well that’s at least what the insurance industry would have you believe. The reality, as I can testify having been a victim of road accidents, is rather different.

Accidents are hideous things. Whiplash hurts like hell. It can require physiotherapy to put right. It can sometimes require a lot more than that.

When it is caused by someone else, you should be compensated. It’s a simple matter of justice. But insurance companies aren’t too keen on justice. What’s justice when set against the interest of the shareholders and bonus driven executives?

The industry has pumped time, effort and money into a campaign, led by the Association of British Insurers, that has pushed for legal reforms that would deny compensation and legal advice to whiplash victims. It has put forward the dubious argument of an “epidemic” of false whiplash claims while slyly neglecting to mention that insurers could fight the dubious ones but often fail to do so. Far more preferable to get the Government to eliminate the problem for them.

To help garner support, the industry has claimed that a package of reforms that the Ministry of Justice has put on the table  will save the average motorist £40 on premiums.

So here’s a question, if that looks good to you. Why is an industry not known for its altruism putting so much effort into supposedly saving its customers money?

Could it be that the reforms won’t so much save motorists money as they will fatten the industry’s profit margins? Could that possibly be a rather better explanation for the industry’s keen interest in shafting the genuine victims of road accidents in the process of dealing with an “epidemic” that there is little in the way of hard evidence for.

Government consultations close tomorrow on the reforms. They would see pay outs capped at £400. Under the proposals people who have been the victims of accidents that are no fault of their own will also face the added stress of going through the smalls claims court for any claim worth less than £5,000. Claims which won’t just involve whiplash but a lot of other injuries besides.

There will be no lawyer available unless you pay for one, and (as I can again testify) a lawyer is your best friend in the event of an accident when even your own insurer might not prove to be terribly helpful. As for the significant number of victims who develop serious problems through “low value” accidents? Tough.

Far from helping the ordinary motorist what these reforms serve to do is to kick the careful driver at the expense of both the bad ones and their greedy insurers.

By the way, there are no plans for any independent oversight of the industry’s promise to pass on that alleged £40 saving.

Premiums have actually been rising since the last lot of industry favourable reforms three years ago.

The industry’s own figures show that some £5.8bn was paid out in motor claims in 2015 against £8.3bn in 2010, a fall of 30 per cent. Yet the cost of motor insurance premiums started to rise at the end of 2013.

The MoJ’s reforms won’t save you money. They will save the industry money. Ambulance chasing lawyers? Perhaps we ought to rephrase that to “ambulance chasing insurers”. It isn’t the lawyers that are the bad guys here.

**ARTICLE BY JAMES MOORE FOR THE INDEPENDENT**

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The Whiplash Reforms. A knee jerk reaction? https://www.matrixsolicitors.net/whiplash-reforms-knee-jerk-reaction/ https://www.matrixsolicitors.net/whiplash-reforms-knee-jerk-reaction/#respond Thu, 24 Nov 2016 15:14:10 +0000 https://www.matrixsolicitors.net/?p=3479 Sitting on a long train from Birmingham to Euston – and having to navigate all 17 stops between meant I had the time to look at […]

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Sitting on a long train from Birmingham to Euston – and having to navigate all 17 stops between meant I had the time to look at the Government’s recent proposals for Personal injury reforms announced in recent times, and briefly yesterday by Philip Hammond at the despatch box along with the Autumn statement.

I’m heading on my way to a meeting to discuss the very document with my colleagues from MASS. I know a number of stakeholders are also discussing these matters, and the very limited time to respond, particularly with the Christmas break looming, means that there’s much work and consideration to be done.

Here’s my thoughts, just on the foreword. Please excuse grammar and spelling, this was typed with a sense of growing bewilderment at the apparent u-turn from just a few short weeks ago when other matters – such as Brexit and rioting Prisoners seemed to be a little higher up the MOJ agenda. I digress, here’s the document as I typed it:

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My comments on the foreword to the MOJ consultation document (Reforming the Soft Tissue Injury (“whiplash”) Claims Process – November 2016.

The document tells us that there is a ’Culture… fuelled by cold calls’ – well they’re not coming from Solicitors, as it’s illegal for cold calling by the profession, and the Government could easily tackle that by extending the ban to CMCs, or anyone for that matter. Why isn’t that being done? Pension cold calling has banned. Solicitors – particularly MASS – have been calling for the cold calling ban for an age. The criticism seems to be aimed at the legal profession which of course is entirely misguided.

Claims are also said to be ’fuelled by targeted advertising’ I’m very happy, as most lawyers are for a ban then, or to regulate advertising more closely. The profession largely doesn’t want a dumbing down of it’s activities . The PI adverts are most likely more irritating to lawyers than they are to the general public in any event. Better restriction / policing / rules would address this satisfactorily.

I could not help but guffaw at the phrase that ’Leading insurers have promised to pass on savings’- empirical evidence shows that’s precisely what does NOT happen, and certainly hasn’t happened. LASPO, Portal, Medco, ASKCuePI have all massively changed the face of PI as we know it, yet no savings have been passed on, in fact, some insurers have boasted record profits in most recent times, and the savings by the industry / profession changes have seen £2bn directly to insurers. This has largely been funded by massive savings in fixed costs – to the detriment of the solicitor, not the public, and certainly not to the insurer.

“The number of whiplash claims is  50% higher than 10 years ago. Factoring in the increase in CMCs and deregulation is that any wonder? Solicitors didn’t want this, and actively campaigned against it. The bigger news is that claims have fallen, year on year for the last 3 years, and this data is exact – and it’s from the Government – the DWP to be right on point The concern I have too is that these proposals don’t just stop at ‘whiplash’ claims. They target all claims with the proposed small claims rise. How on earth does that equate to those injured at work? Why all claims?

“There’s simply to great a financial incentive to make claims” – Is this suggesting that the general public are largely fraudulent then? How on earth does that tie in with falling claims, the checking of fraud through ASKCuePI and randomised medical reporting through MedCo? Far from being an ‘incentive’ – Solicitors are now receiving costs that are sashed to the bone through the implementation of fixed costs, and numerous Solicitors firms have now actively stopped dealing with Personal Injury claims because of the complex handling with poor costs. So, with a broad brush, the seemingly largely fraudulent general public who are apparently taking opportunistic claims in road traffic accidents are now caught if the accident occurs at work, on the highway, or in any instance. It’s very easy to produce throw away comments about fraud. The Insurance Fraud Task force has worked hard at this with the profession, and good progress and change made. However, fraud in Personal injury claims is miniscule – 0.2%, so why all the hysteria?

‘Compensation Culture’ is mentioned again, without any appreciation of the DWP evidence of falling claims, or the complex background of numerous changes that have all played directly into profiting insurers. No mention at all is made of the changes that are still bedding in – and curiously nothing mentioned about the fact that insurance premiums have risen, with none of the £2bn+ savings passed on from insurers to their policy holders. Insurance is not a luxury, it’s a legal obligation, so the general public are the captive audience here.

‘Driving down the number and costs of bringing civil claims – in particular personal injury claims  -has been a priority for this government and its predecessor since 2010.’ Some real explaination needs to be given then here please as claims have fallen – and the evidence from the Government’s own department proves that. Solicitors costs have plummeted with fixed costs – yet the Government has increased court fees in substantial cases by 600% whilst closing local courts and continually criticising the lawyers who are now earning substantially less in fees by radical changes. Insurers now no longer pay for the cost of ATE insurance and success fees, pay slashed fixed costs and despite making massive savings have pocketed them, passing on nothing to the motorist  / general public – ironically they’ve increased premiums at a time when the Government are about to take away the right of the general public, the real loser to claim fair compensation by replacing damages with a much reduced set of proposed figures – and for the vast majority of claims bar access to law by removing the recoverability of fees. The Government has also increased IPT yet again to 12%, actively adding to the costs, not providing any saving.

So who wins? Insurers – they do so in spades. Who loses? Forget Solicitors for a minute – they’ve been losing for some years through the numerous changes to the system. The real loser here is the general public, and they’re sleepwalking into these appalling changes on the false premise that they’re apparently gaining an extra £40 a year. Even if they were to obtain the cost of around 11 sandwiches a year, it is sadly a massive price they’re about to pay.

Article Written by Paul Nicholls, Nicholls Brimble Solicitors 24 November 2016.

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Insurer backlash as tax hike wipes out whiplash reform gains https://www.matrixsolicitors.net/insurer-backlash-tax-hike-wipes-whiplash-reform-gains/ https://www.matrixsolicitors.net/insurer-backlash-tax-hike-wipes-whiplash-reform-gains/#respond Thu, 24 Nov 2016 11:13:08 +0000 https://www.matrixsolicitors.net/?p=3473 Insurers have hit out at plans to increase insurance premium tax for the third time in 18 months, a move that is expected to raise more […]

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Insurers have hit out at plans to increase insurance premium tax for the third time in 18 months, a move that is expected to raise more than £4bn for the Treasury but which was branded “a hammer blow for the hard pressed” by critics.

IPT is added to about 50m car, home, private medical insurance and pet policies every year.

The tax will rise from 10pc to 12pc next June, an increase that means the rate has now doubled within two years.

The latest hike provoked an immediate backlash from the insurance and motoring industries, which argued the IPT increase will offset most of the savings consumers will make from the fall in premiums that are expected if plans to clampdown on whiplash compensation claims are successful.

The tax rise “represents an unwarranted attack on millions of people simply looking to protect themselves, their families and their key assets”, argued Amanda Blanc, group chief executive of Axa UK.

“This is a classic case of the Government giving with one hand, in the form of whiplash reforms, and taking with another.”

To justify the IPT increase, Philip Hammond said the tax “in this country is lower than in many other European countries, and half the rate of VAT”. The Chancellor added that the revenue from it was needed “to fund spending commitments”.

He went on to draw attention to plans unveiled last week, when the Government said motorists could see their annual car insurance bills fall by an average of £40 after it proposed measures to tackle “minor, exaggerated and fraudulent” whiplash injury claims.

The Treasury estimates that lifting IPT by two percentage points will raise £680m in the first year, increasing to £855m by 2021-22. Overall, the hike will raise almost £4.1bn over the five-year period.

“Yet another increase in insurance premium tax is a hammer blow for the hard-pressed,” said Huw Evans, director-general of the Association of British Insurers. “It will hit consumers and businesses alike, hurting those who buy business, motor, property, pet and health insurance.”

He argued that “to claim a consultation on whiplash reforms which hasn’t even gone before Parliament yet will offset this just won’t cut it”. Deloitte, the Big Four accountancy giant, estimated the hike would cost an average family with a house and two cars an extra £21 each year, lifting their total annual IPT bill to £126.

Motorists are expected to bear the brunt of the tax increase when it is passed on to consumers.

Mohammad Khan of PwC said that while the whiplash measures will save about £40 on car insurance premiums, “we expect the same premiums to rise by £25 due to IPT rises put in place since October 2015”.

He warned the industry should brace itself for further IPT hikes in the future. Shares in Direct Line and Admiral both slid 2.1pc, to 348.4p and £19.26 respectively, while stock in insurance and roadside recovery group AA fell 1pc to 260.7p.

*ARTICLE BY BEN MARTIN FOR THE TELEGRAPH*

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