The Motor Accident Solicitors Society (MASS) has made a submission to the Lord Chief Justice, Lord Burnett, to support an urgent review of the government’s proposed tariff of damages for next April’s whiplash reforms.
The Civil Liability Act is due to be implemented in April and is set to reduce damages levels by up to 90% based on tariffs proposed in 2018.
MASS have asked the Lord Chief Justice to review these figures arguing that the rates that were proposed are based on inaccurate and incomplete insurance data.
Paul Nicholls, chair of MASS, said the 2018 figures ‘remain fundamentally flawed, arbitrary and wholly unjust, having been contrived without any objectivity, logic or scrutiny. They are ridiculously low compared to the awards currently recommended by the courts and will cause considerable distress in the future for those unfortunate enough to sustain a road traffic accident whiplash injury after their introduction,’ said Nicholls.
‘When genuinely injured people realise the true impact of the reforms, they will rightly feel deeply aggrieved that their injuries, pain and suffering have been dismissed as insignificant by the government.'
Legal practitioners who will have historically referred to the JSB Guidelines when valuing a client’s claim, will now see the setting of general damages in personal injury claims effectively passing to ministers through the Civil Liability Act.
The Judicial College guidelines not only sets out the various types of injury and the common awards made under each injury, it also has brackets which ensures that the more serious the injury the higher up the bracket and more the client is likely to receive in compensation. Importantly, although the valuation is not an exact science the JC guidelines considers the full range of an individual’s suffering, the length and severity of their symptoms and the impact of their ability to work, hobbies and lifestyle. Historically, the guidelines coupled with established case law have been used successfully by personal injury lawyers whose aim is to obtain the maximum compensation for client.
In comparison the proposed tariff starts at £225.00 for injuries lasting no more than three months, for which a Court would award £2,250.00 at current rates and the maximum award under the tariff would be £3,725.00 for injuries lasting 19-24 months compared to £7,000.00 under the judicial guidelines.
As legal practitioners will be acutely aware the proposed reforms are now only four and a half months away so this may be considered an ‘eleventh hour ‘ plea from personal injury lawyers to the Lord Chief Justice in a bid to request an intervention to the proposed tariffs
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