Cath Pearson, head of the RTA division at Vincents Solicitors, is warning business leaders not to ignore proposed changes to personal injury claims that could affect their employees.
The government’s proposals to reduce small injury claims by changing the way claims can be made could put thousands of businesses under huge financial pressure.
The proposal would put all claims under £5,000 into the small claims court, where costs are not recoverable by solicitors and therefore victims would have to fight their case alone. The policy is likely, therefore, to put victims off making a claim altogether if the anticipated damages would be less than the £5,000 threshold, considering the cost and time involved.
For employers, this could see them thousands of pounds out of pocket. Victims of RTA minor injuries, particularly those doing physical jobs, usually have to have some time off work for recovery and physiotherapy.
Their sick pay will often be paid by their employer, as a standard term of their employment contract. Currently, this is usually recovered by the solicitor in the victim’s claim for loss of earnings, and paid back to the employer.
However, in order to claim loss of earnings, the victim has to prove they have been injured in the first place.
A victim who doesn’t have the confidence, inclination or indeed money to pay for an independent medical assessment or the solicitors fees to fight the case, isn’t going to be able to claim on their own behalf let alone on their employers, who’ll be left footing the bill alone. Not only will businesses be hit by this change, so too will many of the services that victims use during their recovery. Unable to reclaim the costs of independent physiotherapy sessions, many will not seek the right support, which could lead to future medical problems and time off work.
The proposals, which are aimed at reducing fraudulent claims and encouraging insurers to bring down premiums, are still up for discussion. We need business owners and employers to join the fight by signing the petition, contacting their MP and business groups and highlighting the damage this could cause to companies of every size. https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/113810