Motorists prefer to keep claims the same, finds First4Lawyers

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Eight out 10 motorists would prefer to keep the claims process in its current form rather than see the Civil Liability Bill introduced and compensation drastically reduced, a First4Lawyers survey has found.

The survey of 2,080 people by YouGov and commissioned by First4Lawyers asked whether they would rather the current situation or the mooted £35 off their insurance and less compensation if they suffered a motor accident that was not their fault

Some 79% of respondents said they would prefer the status quo.

Four in five motorists have no confidence that their insurer will cut premiums after an estimated saving more than £1 billion under the Civil Liability Bill. A similar number would not know what to do if the reforms forced them to pursue a personal injury claim on their own.

The Civil Liability Bill promises to cap damages for whiplash claims and ban settlements struck without medical evidence. Separate secondary legislation is also increasing the small claims limit for road traffic accident claims to £5,000 and for all other personal injury claims to £2,000.

The legislation will also move the calculation of the personal injury discount rate, currently set at -0.75%, away from ‘very low risk’ to ‘low risk’ investments, as well as introduce an expert group to advise on its level every three years.

Taken together, insurers and the government claim motor insurance policies will be £35 per year cheaper.

But there will be no clear mechanism in place to monitor this, and almost 80% of respondents to the First4Lawyers survey felt that these savings wouldn’t be passed on.

Furthermore, the survey showed that many people would be discouraged from taking action at all if they had to act for themselves. Some 78% said they would not know how to bring a claim for damages without legal support.

Andy Kay, director of operations at First4Lawyers, commented: “It is not too late for the government to listen. Consumers recognise that the changes it is making will benefit only insurance companies—whose profits are already eye-watering enough—while they lose out at every turn.”

“Ministers have their priorities shamefully wrong, to the extent that damaged cars will be much better off than damaged people. This is fundamentally wrong, which is why we are campaigning against the changes.”

Further examination of the Civil Liability Bill is scheduled for today in the House of Lords.

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Mark Dugdale is the editor of Claims Media. Mark welcomes articles, letters or feedback from readers and can be reached via mark.dugdale@barkerbrooks.co.uk