Lawyers rail against tighter whiplash legislation

A group of personal injury lawyers have joined forces to prevent the government being ‘hoodwinked’ by the insurance industry over whiplash compensation.

Access to Justice (A2J) has been set up in response to government legislation proposed by chancellor George Osborne last November, calculated to reduce motor insurance premiums by up to £50 per policy.

Among the measures put forward by the chancellor is scrapping compensation for soft tissue injury and raising the limit for personal claims from £1,000 to £5,000.

However, A2J chair Martin Coyne said, ‘The government is being hoodwinked by the insurance industry, which has persuaded ministers, against all the evidence and past experience, that these reforms will bring down premiums.

‘Instead, members of the public who have a genuine claim will be denied access to justice, even for quite serious injury cases, and premiums will continue to rise as insurers replace falling investment income with higher prices. It’s great news for insurance company executives and shareholders but terrible for those hurt through no fault of their own on our roads.

‘We know the insurance industry’s fraud statistics are partial and perverse, and the real reason behind these proposals is to protect their profits following a steep fall in investment returns.

‘The idea that the insurance industry is on the side of the consumer in this respect is, frankly, laughable.

‘All it is doing is persuading the government to reduce levels of cover offered to victims – while offering no guarantees that any resulting savings will be passed on to policyholders.’