There is no doubt about it, personal injury claims are big business, and have been the single fastest growing area of law in the last 10 years, with an estimated 25% or more of qualified solicitors working in the field.
One of the main reasons for this exponential growth has been the success of the no win no fee injury claim model, based in turn on the relative predictability of the outcome of personal injury claims when compared to other types of legal cases in the County Courts. So, lawyers have been prepared to operate on a fully no win no fee basis and to even subsidise injury claims in the knowledge they would be likely to get any outlay back plus fees plus a success fee. The client will keep 100% of the damages and so everybody wins … except there is no such situation as everybody winning, and what has happened is that the number of accident claims has risen massively, with the so-called compensation culture to the fore, and the losers of this are us all, with insurance premiums now starting to rocket.
It appears that the party will soon be over, as the Government is determined to put the lid on injury claims and is doing so in several ways :-
- banning personal injury solicitors from paying referral fees for claims – in some instances such fees are being paid to insurers, the very same insurers who are complaining it’s nothing to do with them that premiums are going up
- banning success fees, which will mean that claimants will no longer get 100% of damages, and which will make the whole business of personal injury claims far less lucrative
Returning to the overview of personal injury, whilst, as stated above, there are lots of claims where there is good visibility on results, with a little experience, such as slips and trips or particularly RTA and whiplash claims, other types of claims, such as medical negligence, asbestos related claims or workplace accidents are often far more complex. Many solicitors in commercial law firms cock a snoop at personal injury firms, yet, it has been the personal injury solicitors making good money in the last decade and not all personal injury claims are largely process driven, there are some very complex legal and factual cases.