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Personal Injury Lawyers Warn Against Rushing New Compensation Procedures

The president of the Personal Injury Lawyers Association (APIL) has criticised the Government for rushing through more streamlined procedures to help assess compensation claims.

The government wants to introduce more extensive procedures, particularly for lower value road traffic accidents, by April 2013. The president of the association, Karl Tonks, has expressed concern that this doesn’t allow enough time to measure the effectiveness of the new procedures.

APIL has criticised the government for failing to ensure all necessary research and thorough preparatory steps have been taken to test the new systems. One such measure includes the introduction of a new IT system to assess claims. Mr Tonks argues that insufficient time has been allocated to procure, build and test this new system, stating that a reasonable timescale would be approximately 18 months for a suitable system.

He has also expressed concern that the Government are making decisions within the period of consultation instead of waiting until it has ended. Mr Tonks has also highlighted the government’s failure to produce the necessary reports which comment on the effectiveness of the new procedures. He argues that this could lead to serious flaws in systems which allow victims to access the justice they deserve. Mr. Tonks has described the government’s timescales as unrealistic and undermining for the people it is meant to represent.

No evidence to support the case that compensation claims are too high

APIL also claims that there is no evidence to support the case that costs for compensation claims are too high. The move to reform the assessment of compensation claims is based on concerns raised by insurance companies. However, Mr Tonks argues that costs were cut a couple of years ago which made no difference to driver’s insurance premiums. As such, he believes it will only be the insurance companies who benefit from this new scheme, possibly at the expense of worthy victims. He insists that in order to improve the compensation system so that it is fair to all parties involved, it is vital that the Government take into consideration all opinions and not just those of the insurance companies.