The number of road accident claims in 2014 exceeded the levels recorded before the Jackson reforms, new figures have revealed.
According to the RTA Portal website, 837,317 claim notification files were created last year – more than 4,000 up on 2012.
The dates are significant because 2012 was the last full year before the Jackson reforms came into effect, implementing a ban on referral fees designed to cut the number of claims.
Insurers have suggested that Jackson did little to reduce claims and will point to the 2014 figures as proof that more reforms are needed.
But John Spencer, president of the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers, said the increase is misleading as the threshold for making claims in the portal was increased from £10,000 to £25,000 in 2013.
‘If you deduct the proportion of cases likely to be in the £10,000-£25,000 category, then claims have gone down in net terms by about 5%,’ he said. ‘It is mischievous to say otherwise.’
Spencer said that if insurers are unhappy with the claims level, the implementation of the referral fee ban is likely to be responsible. ‘The barn door of alternative business structures was left open so an insurance company could wholly own a solicitor’s practice, which was never the intention of Jackson.’
The government has already announced that independent whiplash panels will be established under which a company, MedCo, will allocate doctors on a cab rank basis and remove any financial links between law firms and experts handling cases.
There remains concern in the claimant sector that the government will look to increase the small claims limit if re-elected.