Those of you who read the articles that John and I post on the site may remember that back in March I set out details of how the law was about to change and how that was likely to affect you as the person injured because of another’s negligence.
Just as a recap… before 1st April 2013 the position in so far as the law was concerned was that if you had an accident and successfully recovered compensation then in addition, your legal costs in instructing solicitors to deal with the claim for you were also recoverable from the other side.
Then came changes in the law from 1st April that said that only a PORTION of the costs could be recovered and the balance of the costs had to be paid by you, the Claimant from your compensation up to a maximum of 25% of the damages you received. To counterbalance that, the value of compensation for the injuries was increased by 10% but even so, this still meant that Claimants were now required to make a contribution towards their solicitors costs.
So the position we now have is that the majority of personal injury claims are covered by the changes in the law, leaving you, the Claimant liable to pay a part of your solicitors costs.
It goes without saying that we would have preferred it if the law had stayed the same as it was before April but the changes have come in and so we have to work within the rules.
It is now 6 months on since these major changes took effect. So what is our experience so far….? Well, firstly (and as predicted) accidents STILL happen and Claimants need good quality legal advice to help them pursue their claims. As a well established firm specialising in Personal Injury we have seen an increase in the number of claims being brought and we are pursuing them on your behalf in the same professional and ethical way we always did!
We understand that there are organisations out there who are attempting still to deal with cases without a contribution from the Claimant. My view is that these organisations should be treated with great caution. Any organisation who tells you that you do not have to pay anything towards your legal costs is cutting corners SOMEWHERE to make that viable. My best guess is that the compromise is on the service you receive; if your case is being dealt with for a low fixed fee you cannot expect (and you are unlikely to receive) the personalised service you deserve. There is an old saying ” You get what you pay for” and that has never been more true for personal injury claims.
If you have had an accident and been injured and suffered financial losses you only get one chance to get it right and claim the proper amount of compensation. If you end up receiving far less because the organisation working for you did not pay full attention to your case, then any saving you made in choosing someone who was prepared to deal with your case on a low budget, will not look like such a bargain…
Until next time