It has been reported recently in the legal press that the number of personal injury claims being made is starting to decline, or as one report put it, they are in "freefall”. If taken at face value, these reports would suggest that the end of the PI market is nigh (to the huge joy of the insurers and government) but is it right to take such a pessimistic view at this stage?
First off, the National Accident Helpline Group reported to the London Stock Exchange that falling case numbers in its PI unit were ‘in line’ with the company's predictions.
Meanwhile, new figures obtained by the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL) reveals that the government’s compensation recovery unit recorded 335,365 claims in 2015/16 where the compensator had used the term ‘whiplash’ to describe the injury, a fall of 11% in the number of "whiplash” claims recorded for the previous year. The figures obtained show a steady decline in numbers from 2012/13 but is that not surprising, given the rush to acquire claims prior to the 1st April 2013 in any event?
So is it really surprising that these figures are now starting to show a drop in the numbers as the Personal Injury sector still await the publication of a consultation on further reforms to low value "whiplash” claims, or is this just a natural correction post Jackson?
Statistics released by the HSE show that the number of workers fatally injured in 2015/16 (144) is 7% lower than the average for the past five years (155). Over the latest 20-years there has been a downward trend in the rate of fatal injury, although in recent years this shows signs of levelling off.
There was bound to be a large increase in the number of claims recorded in the run up to the Jackson reforms and perhaps now we are seeing a levelling off across the personal injury sector, against a constant bombardment from insurers and Government seeking to prevent those genuinely injured, having access to justice and redress.