The new chair of the Motor Accident Solicitors Society has dismissed the notion of a compensation culture in the UK urging members of the organisation to fight to preserve the current system.
This article first appeared in Post Online, 7th November 2014
“It fits snuggly into a narrative that making a claim for compensation is behaviour to be expected from those who do not fall into the favoured category of ‘hard working families’,” Brown said.
“Government enthusiasm for the myth of the compensation culture could of course be partly because many personal injury and clinical negligence claims are paid by the Treasury. But there are other common interests that lead them to align themselves with the insurance industry,” she said.
“We do not have and never have had a compensation culture. What we have is a system that seeks to support people who are injured as a result of the negligence of others. We need to fight to preserve that system.”
MASS supports the accreditation of medical experts to assist in combatting fraudulent whiplash claims but these measures should be employed to discount genuine claims, Brown warned.
“If you are injured in an accident you are fully entitled to expect quality medical support, therapy and money to help return you as far as possible to the same quality of life you enjoyed before. You are doing nothing morally wrong by making a claim,” she said.
Brown touched on legislation currently passing through parliament. She called the Social Action Responsibility and Heroism “spectacularly unimportant” saying it was a waste of parliamentary time.
However, she raised concerns about the Criminal Justice and Courts Bill and the “fundamentally dishonest” clause.
“The potential windfall for insurers, who may be able to get out of claims not only without paying the claimant anything at all, but also having their own costs paid by the claimant, will make them look very carefully for any sign of dishonesty or exaggeration. It seems highly likely that we will see the allegation raised far more often,” Brown said.
“And how many honest claimants pursuing genuine claims will be prepared to take the risk of proceeding to court if the possible outcome is that they will come out with nothing other than a bill for the insurers’ solicitors’ costs? We will have a fight on our hands when acting for these claimants, to support them and gather the evidence needed to demonstrate that they are not dishonest.”