In an earlier Blog, we reviewed briefly an excellent new guide by leading specialist personal injury barrister, Julian Benson. Entitled ‘A Barrister’s Guide to your Personal Injury Claim‘, the guide is unique in that it is aimed at claimants, not lawyers, to better enable them to understand the claims process. In that way they are far better equipped to understand whether they are receiving the best possible service and advice from their solicitor.
With the many recent changes to the claims process, Julian has published an update to the guide which, for personal use, is free to download from his website. We asked Julian if he would like comment on the update. He writes:
“On 1st April 2013, the government introduced some extremely important changes into personal injury claims. I have explained the changes in detail in my free to download “Update” to my Guide to your Personal Injury Claim (which is also free to download, or to purchase via Amazon). Perhaps the most important changes concern the ‘funding’ of your claim. The new rules will apply to you if you were injured after 1st April 2013, or you entered into a funding arrangement with your solicitor (eg a no-win-no-fee agreement) after the 1stApril 2013.
Further changes were introduced on July 2013. The “Portal” is the name of an online claims scheme introduced by the government, some years ago, to try to deal with simple road traffic claims (with a total value of less than £10,000). Such claims would often involve a modest rear-end collision, causing some physical injury, some vehicle damage, and sometimes a period off work. Individuals who wanted to commence a portal claim had, and still have, to do so with assistance from a solicitor. From July 2013, it is intended to extend the “Portal” to deal with higher value road traffic claims (with a value of up to £25,000) and, importantly, claims arising from injuries at work (also known as ‘employer’s liability’ claims), and so-called ‘public liability’ claims, most common of which are tripping claims against local councils. The tab “who needs the guide” on the website (http://www.abarristersguide.org.uk) will direct you to the portal to see if it might apply in your situation.
The government has also introduced “fixed recoverable costs” in a range of claims. This has radically reduced the legal fees which can be recovered from the defendant by your legal representatives. This severe downward pressure on costs has led to more and more ‘legal work’ being undertaken at much lower cost, by less qualified individuals. Regardless of how diligent these individuals may be, unless they are exceptionally well supervised, it is inevitable that their lack of qualifications and experience will take its toll, and mean that individuals with personal injury claims are far less capably represented. This is another reason to read and digest the guide so that you can feel confident that you are receiving a professional service – and do something about it if you are not.“