Thompsons, the UK's largest claimant litigation firm has predicted that the biggest losers under a fixed costs regime will be the victims of injury as law firms turn them away or reduce the quality of their service in order to protect their bank balances. Thompsons also warns that those law firms which have banked on fixed costs bringing fiscal certainty risk financial disaster if economic conditions change.

Rachel Sarfas, director of claims management at Thompsons, said that fixed costs must not be allowed to spread beyond road traffic accidents.

"The Costs Forum decision to go for fixed costs for RTAs (in reality a cap on costs), which we opposed, must not be the slippery slope to all PI claims. Our concern is not for the firms that will pull out of PI when the lure of short-term financial security and a respite from an insurers cost onslaught is replaced with the reality of unrealistic costs levels.  They can cry into their overdrafts.

"Our concern is for the victims of injury who discover over the next few years that what fixed costs means for them is more limited access to justice and a poorer service as firms strive to keep under the fixed fee.

"Thompsons will continue to oppose and campaign against fixed costs by exposing its fundamental flaws for the victims of injury.

"We will closely monitor the situation and if, as we suspect, time shows that victims of injury are turned away or short changed by law firms scrabbling to keep within fixed fee limits we will establish a unit to review such cases.  The spectre that will come to haunt the profession is the Double Victim - a victim of injury and a victim of fixed costs."