A figurehead for the claimant personal injury sector has urged solicitors not to give up opposing further changes to the system.
Craig Budsworth, chairman of the Motor Accident Solicitors Society (MASS), told today’s Manchester Law Society conference that the fight against increases to the small-claims limit was not over yet.
A decision on the limit was postponed last week by the government until the findings of the transport select committee’s inquiry into whiplash claims are known. Justice minister Helen Grant has also said she wants to see the effects of the Jackson reforms and fixed fee cuts for claims going through the RTA Portal.
Budsworth (pictured) told delegates: ‘This is fantastic news but no one in the sector should be lulled into a false sense of security.
‘We must keep telling the parliamentarians and the public about what the change would mean for accident victims and how difficult and expensive it would be for innocent injured parties to seek legal support.’
Budsworth said it was difficult to predict how the sector will look in a year’s time, but he warned the months and years ahead ‘are going to be tough’.
He also called on personal injury lawyers to report any problems with the new system after the Jackson reforms, particularly those firms not complying with the referral fee ban.
‘Already we can see problems within the system that going against both the spirit, and sometimes the letter, of the new laws and regulations and these must be addressed,’ he added.
Budsworth also told the conference that MASS and others in the claimant sector would closely scrutinise promises from the insurance industry that any cost savings would be passed onto consumers.
‘[Insurers] need to know that the government, policyholders and the claimant industry are watching and waiting to see when premiums will really fall.’
He conceded that premiums may have dropped slightly this year, but said the change ‘pales in comparison to massive hikes we have seen in recent years’.
The transport committee heard evidence from medical experts yesterday and will hear from members of the legal profession when it next meets on 17 June.