Plans to cap payouts for whiplash with an aim of cracking down on fraudulent claims have been revealed by the Government, however unions are now fearing a “secret assault” on injuries at work.
The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) has launched a consultation on proposals to cut the high number of whiplash claims, which will allow insurers to lower their premiums.
Unite says a consultation launched last Thursday on whiplash claims includes proposals to raise the limit for cases in the small claims court for personal injury claims, including workplace accidents, from £1,000 to £5,000.
New proposals result in more accidents in workplace ‘going unchecked’
The union is warning that the move to include workplace accidents will deny workers access to justice and could affect litigation on health and safety issues.
Unite general secretary Len McCluskey said: “Despite initially saying the rise in the compensation cap would apply to whiplash claims only, the Government has snuck in plans for it to cover workplace accidents too.”
Mr McCluskey believes this is nothing less than the Government undertaking a “secret assault on workers” who are injured at work.
He added: “The principle of the small claims provisions is that injuries are so minor, and cases so straightforward, as to not need legal representation.
“Patently that is not true of workplace accidents and diseases where the employer and insurance company have substantial resources to defend any legal action.
“As they stand, the plans will price workers out of justice, leaving them unable to recover legal costs and result in workplaces becoming more dangerous and workplace diseases going unchecked.”
Governments wants to cut down on false claims
Whiplash claims are now 50% higher than they were a decade ago and ministers have called the problem an “epidemic” being fuelled by a predatory claims industry that encourages minor, exaggerated and fraudulent claims.
The consultation will run from 6 January 2017 and sets out plans to scrap the right to compensation or limit the amount people can claim for minor whiplash injuries.
Capping compensation would see the average payout cut from £1,850 to a maximum amount of £425, which would only be paid out if a medical report was provided as proof of injury.
Justice Secretary Elizabeth Truss said: “For too long, some have exploited a rampant compensation culture and seen whiplash claims an easy payday, driving up costs for millions of law-abiding motorists.
“These reforms will crack down on minor, exaggerated and fraudulent claims.”
Source: The Mirror
Date Published: December 1, 2016
Author: Jonathan Brown