The Civil Justice Council has been asked by the Government to look into the cost and frequency of noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) claims.
The Ministry of Justice has said that it wants the claims investigated due to ongoing concern about the “number and cost” of NIHL cases. The government department believes that the investigation will build on recent civil justice reforms that have been “designed to control costs and discourage unnecessary litigation while allowing access to justice for meritorious cases”.
In welcoming the move, the Association of British Insurers (ABI) said that there had been a clear rise in NIHL claims. It recently published figures showing that there had been 200,000 industrial deafness claims since 2012. It also believes that claimant lawyers have received, on average, three times as much in legal fees as claimants do in compensation.
“[The] announcement by the Ministry of Justice is a positive development,” said James Dalton, the ABI’s director of general insurance policy.
“The skyrocketing number and cost of industrial deafness claims is a significant issue that the insurance industry has highlighted for some time. The number of claims has gone up by 250% between 2010 and 2013 and for every £1 the claimant receives, their lawyer receives £3,” said Dalton.
“The insurance industry looks forward to working with the CJC to develop a practical and deliverable framework that seeks to make legal fees more proportionate and ensure that genuine claimants receive fair compensation in a timely and efficient manner,” he added.