Neil Sugarman, the new President of the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL), has called the Government’s plans to plough ahead with reforms to personal injury claims as baseless and frustrating.
Reacting to remarks from justice minister Lord Faulks at APIL’s annual conference, Sugarman said that the Government continued to give the impression that injuries which didn’t attract a great deal of compensation, such as whiplash injuries, were somehow trivial and that people suffering with those injuries should not be allowed damages for their pain.
“[This] apparent determination to make life harder for people with personal injury claims is both disappointing and deeply frustrating,” said Sugarman.
“But anyone who has had such a [minor soft tissue] injury knows just how painful and debilitating it can be.”
He also pointed out that three years ago, Ministers had deferred a decision to force more claims through the small claims court until safeguards had been put in place to ensure that access to justice would not be affected.
“Today, it seems that promise has been forgotten, and people forced to bring personal injury claims in the small claims court will still either have to represent themselves or pay for their lawyers because those whose negligence has injured them won’t have to pay for their costs,” he said.
“What I find most frustrating of all is the fact that these proposals are utterly groundless.
“Government figures show us that whiplash claims are falling and a whole raft of reforms have been introduced to reduce costs and help prevent fraud. But innocent and vulnerable people are still being targeted in what has become a game of numbers rather than of the needs of individuals,” added Sugarman.