News that hundreds of claims management firms have shut down following the introduction of tough new laws is welcome, but more needs to be done, according to a Leeds legal expert.
Figures released by the Claims Management Regulation Unit, part of the Ministry of Justice, show that hundreds of claims management firms have closed their businesses following the introduction of tough new laws.
The figures show that the number of registered companies handling personal injury claims fell from 2,435 in March 2012 to 1,700 in June this year.
Andrew Greenwood, Partner and personal injury law expert at Leeds-based Emsleys Solicitors, said:
“The net is closing in on substandard legal practice, however more needs to be done by both the Government and the industry as a whole.
“In the 28 years I have worked in personal injury, representing victims of serious brain and spinal injuries, I have seen standards in some quarters deteriorate massively.
“Personal Injury lawyers are supposed to be there to help and support victims at the time they need support the most; too often firms are using unqualified and inexperienced claims handlers who are incentivised to settle quickly; this isn’t in the best interest of the victim.”
In April, new laws were introduced on no win, no fee deals including a ban on referral fees between lawyers and claims management firms and a ban on firms taking fees from customers before a written contract had been agreed and signed.
“In a survey we conducted earlier this year, 41 per cent of those who had made a personal injury claim were unhappy with their settlement, or weren’t confident they were awarded the right amount of compensation.
“In response to this we have launched Review My Claim, a free independent service, to help tackle poor legal advice and service and protect genuine accident victims.”
Review My Claim deals with claims in progress, where people are unhappy with the advice they’re getting, where their advisers have made a mistake or when they’ve been told their case has no merit.
“It also advise on settled claims where people are unhappy with the amount of compensation they’ve been awarded.