The Law Society has defended the practice of offering up-front incentives such as iPads to personal injury claimants, saying there is no evidence that it encourages fraud.
Responding to justice secretary Chris Grayling’s announcement of measures to crack down on bogus claims, the Society’s chief executive Desmond Hudson said: ‘There is no evidence to support suggestions that anyone would launch a spurious legal claim or embark on litigation just because they were being offered a free iPad just as it is a myth that we live in a compensation culture.’
While the ‘tiny fraction’ of fraudulent claims should be stamped on, Hudson (pictured) said, this should not be at the expense of honest claimants.
‘The real concern for the public is that people who suffer injury, whether it is whiplash or something more serious, through no fault of their own, are entitled to compensation for their loss. They should never settle a claim until they have seen an independent solicitor,’ he said. ‘Solicitors should be able to advertise their services like any other part of a modern economy.’
Measures announced by Grayling last weekend include requiring courts to throw out compensation applications in full where the claimant has been fundamentally dishonest and banning lawyers from offering incentives to claim.
The government’s announcement cited figures from the Association of British Insurers saying that the number of dishonest motor claims increased by 34% in 2013, to a record 59,900, with a value of £811m.