Commenting on the government consultation “Reducing the number and costs of whiplash claims”, published today, Tom Jones, head of policy and public affairs said:

We welcome the government’s decision to not include all personal injury claims, including workplace accidents in the proposed changes - something the insurance industry would have wanted – but access to justice for people who are genuinely injured in RTAs has to remain paramount. The consultation leaves some potentially gaping holes into which injured people may fall.

If the government and the ABI agree the problem is whiplash claims why include Option 2 in the consultation which proposes increasing the small claims limit for all RTA personal injury claims?

Justice should be accessible, independent and fair.

The small claims court does not pay legal costs so the genuine whiplash claimant and potentially (under option 2) those with other genuine RTA related injuries face having to represent themselves against insurance backed lawyers or pay for a lawyer out of their compensation. Is that fair?

The genuinely injured claimant must continue to have the right to a genuinely independent medical assessment. Whereas at the moment either side can propose a doctor and the parties agree between them who the independent doctor should be, these proposals could see the insurance industry paying the doctors. Is that really independent?

What safeguards will there be in place to stop insurers deflecting genuine claimants with sub value offers as the case progresses, which an unrepresented claimant may jump at to avoid the stress of a hearing?