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AND YET MORE BROKEN PROMISES…..

Wednesday, April 12th, 2017

New rules governing personal injury actions came into force on 1.4.2013. The changes meant that invariably the injured person would have to pay some of the legal costs from any compensation that they would recover. It was irrelevant that they were the innocent party.

The Insurance industry defended such steps with promises to the innocent motorist that these changes would allow them to reduce everyone’s car insurance premiums by £40 per annum.
Has your car insurance premium reduced? I suspect not.

The Insurance industry reasoning…..well that’s because of all of those nasty fraudulent motorists claiming injuries for accidents which either haven’t happened; in which there was no injury or indeed were made up in their entirety. This is why we couldn’t reduce the premiums.

And so to stop this once and for all more changes are planned with an anticipated start date of October 2018.

With a sense of irony for a country which prides itself on access to justice, this will only now be available for those suffering an injury IF you have suffered so severe an injury that the injury is worth more than £2000.

Any less an injury – even if you’ve lost earnings; incurred medical expenses suffered damage / paid for repairs – well I’m sorry but from October 2018 you will be on your own. You won’t be able to recover any legal costs back from the insurer for the person/company who caused you these problems even though it was probably not your fault. Solicitors may be able to help you if you want, but you will need to pay for that, probably from any compensation that you recover.

And the fraudsters – well they will also be sorted. No longer will “whiplash” injuries be dealt with like all other claims. The compensation you get for these injuries now will be lower than you would have got. This will stop them claiming. Are the insurers really that naïve?

“It will be worth it!” – shouts the insurance industry. If you do this we can get rid of those nasty fraudsters and we promise…we can reduce your insurance premiums – honestly!

Really?

The detail on the new rules has not even been written, let alone is the ink dry and lo and behold we already have significant backtracking from the insurance industry.

It is now anticipated that insurance premiums will not – as promised – drop. On the contrary motorists will see insurance premiums increase significantly over the next few months and by as much as £110 / annum. And don’t think if you don’t drive it doesn’t affect you. It is more likely than not that all premiums will increase including household and business premiums.

The reason – the drop in the “discount rate”.

The discount rate is the current method by which significantly injured people have their claims for future compensation assessed. The Insurance industry has benefited by millions of pounds in reducing the costs of claims for genuinely severely, injured people as a result of the discount rate being set far too high for at least the last 9 years. No benefit was passed onto policyholders in these lucrative years. Now that the Government have reduced the rate, the insurance industry disingenuously use this as an excuse for significantly increasing premiums, even though they themselves had expected a reduction in any event. The difference is that the rate has dropped lower than they thought. It is also irrespective of the fact that overall such claims account for probably less than 15% of all compensation claims.

The irony is that such increases in premiums are also highlighted now when in reality the insurance industry has flexed its muscles and have secured a review of how future claims should be compensated. The consultation on this is due to end in May 2017. The increases have therefore already been implemented before a final decision on the issue has been published.

And so….. Policyholders will find their premiums increasing and yet again we are reading of broken promises and excuses – all in the name of keeping the insurance industry shareholders happy.

For more information about the discount rate please read Annmarie Wilde’s Blog: The truth behind the increase in insurance premiums.

12.4.17

The truth behind the increase in Insurance Premiums

Friday, March 3rd, 2017

Monday morning saw, what could be considered, a cataclysmic announcement to rival any other change in the field of Personal Injury and Clinical Negligence over recent years.

As we have come to expect from the Insurance industry screams of “foul play” were echoed by tangible falls in share prices for many Insurers. “The public will suffer….businesses will suffer….everyone will have to pay huge increases for their insurance premiums! It’s disastrous …”

15 bosses of the biggest insurance companies, the well-established champions of the simple man, marched on Phillip Hammond demanding change….clearly to protect the common man!

Really? I think not!

So what’s it all about? Why has this change in the “discount rate” been the cause of such drama?

Let’s give this issue some context.

Put simply, the “discount rate” will only affect claims where an injured person has been left with ongoing problems which will affect their future ability to work; take care of themselves; need ongoing treatment etc. To get to this stage you have to win – someone has been to blame! It’s the medical experts who try to assess what the future needs will be.

It isn’t likely to be your whiplash case – the usual target for insurers; it won’t be fraudulent cases as they should be found out long before it comes to a Judge.

It’s the case of the driver doing 50 mph in a 40 mph zone who knocks down the 10 year old girl, leaving her unable to walk again or it’s the employer who cuts corners, making you work on an unsafe machine causing you to lose your right hand.

For the last 16 years the Courts have told these lifelong injured that we’ll award you a chunk of money – you can squirrel it away somewhere safe and behold you will get a 2.5% return every year. The money squirreled away will then last until you die.

Every pensioner living on their savings knows how hilarious such a suggestion actually is.

The Base Rate of Interest dropped to 2% in December 2008; dropping further to 0.5 % by March 2009 where it stayed until August 2016 when it finally fell to 0.25%.

Will those lump sums really last until these people die? These awards aren’t for flash cars or exotic holidays. These awards are to pay for the lost earnings; the lost pensions; the wheelchairs for life or prosthetic limbs for life. What happens when the money runs out before they die?

Claimant Solicitors have been calling for a reduction in the discount rate for many years.

Insurers themselves have been waiting for a reduction in the discount rate from 2.5%. Most have increased reserves anticipating a drop to between 1 % and 1.5%.

What has surprised all on both sides of the argument is the level that it has been dropped to, namely minus 0.75%.

However I didn’t hear Insurers rallying to support genuinely injured people from 2008 onwards who were being short changed, demanding that the rate should be reduced. The insurers have basked in the glory of the refusal to reduce the rate for at least the last 9 years and increased their coffers quite happily. What’s been happening to all that added “fat” and windfall?

Do premiums have to go up…or certainly go up as much as anticipated?

One of the insurers quoted in articles over the last few days is forecasting a loss of profit of between £215 million and £230 million. That same insurer posted operating profits of £520.7 million in 2015 up from £506 million in 2014.

Am I missing something?

Premiums don’t “have” to increase by as much as alleged because of the drop in the discount rate. The premiums “have” to be increased to secure and maintain the profits that these companies’ shareholders have become accustomed to.

The boss of the ABI professes the reduction “will “overcompensate” a few thousand claimants a year”.

Personally, I suspect that the 10 year old in the wheelchair or the man without a hand would happily give back that money to have their pre accident lives back.

Perhaps the difference in opinion rests with whether it is your child or husband – you – that’s been affected, whose lives will never be the same again.

 

A&E Chaos

Thursday, January 19th, 2017

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I have nothing but admiration for the staff at the A&E Department at Princess Royal Hospital in Telford and the paramedics of the West Midlands Ambulance Service given the chaos they work in on a day to day basis…….

It was Monday morning, 9th January 2017, when I had to ring for an ambulance as my husband was struggling to breathe.  He has an ongoing illness, but this particular morning he was a lot worse than usual.  I rang 999 and the paramedics were with us within 10 minutes.  My husband’s oxygen levels had dropped dangerously low.  He was given oxygen and taken to the Princess Royal Hospital.

It was around 7am when my husband arrived at A&E.  I met up with him shortly after he arrived.  He was on a trolley being cared for by the paramedics.  Within 10 minutes or so he was given a bed and the paramedics were released.

The room my husband was in was next to the main corridor where the paramedics deliver their patients to the A&E Department.

We were actually in the A&E Department for around 14 hours that day so witnessed first-hand the conditions that the paramedics and staff were faced with.

There were patients being brought in by paramedics most of the time. There were times when the corridor was full of patients on trolleys waiting to be admitted to the A&E Department. Despite this the paramedics provided the utmost care to their patients and waited patiently to be released so they could deal with their next emergency.

The staff in the A&E Department including consultants, registrars, nurses, auxiliaries etc were rushed off their feet, but again were professional in their work and the care which they provided.

You may think 14 hours is a long time to wait before being admitted? I agree it is, but we did not complain because it was obvious the staff were not to blame.

The paramedics that answered my husband’s 999 call and some staff were still working well over 12 hours later!

We need to look after our NHS staff, so in turn they can look after us!

Helen Powell, Solicitor in the Personal Injury Department at Coley & Tilley Solicitors Birmingham (0121 643 5531)

 

CLAIMING LOSS OF EARNINGS FOLLOWING AN ACCIDENT

Friday, October 3rd, 2014

If you have been injured in an accident and someone else is to blame you may wish to pursue a claim for personal injuries and other losses against that person/company and their insurance company.

The compensation which you claim is divided into two types called ‘general damages’ and ‘special damages’.  General damages is the compensation you will recover for your pain and suffering.  Special damages is a schedule listing any expenses (past or future) which will include any loss of earnings.

In this Blog I am going to focus on claiming for loss of earnings following an accident.

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If you are working before your accident and suddenly because of your injuries from your accident you are off work, then your personal injury solicitor will carry out enquiries to calculate your loss of earnings.

Statutory Sick Pay

If you are off sick from work and so long as you have paid sufficient National Insurance contributions you should receive statutory sick pay from the 4th day of absence up to 28 weeks.  This figure currently is £87.55 per week (2014).  You can still claim loss of earnings for the difference between what you should earn and what you have ‘earned’.

Example A:-  If you earn £300 net pay per week before the accident and you receive statutory sick pay following your accident (and nothing else), your loss will be £212.45 per week.

Company Sick Pay

In your contract of employment, your employers may agree to pay company sick pay whilst you are off sick from work.  Your employers may make up the difference between the statutory sick pay which you receive, so that your wages are equal to what you normally earn.  Whilst you do not suffer a loss, your employers will.  Your contract may include a clause that you must recover their loss.  It is important that even if you don’t think you have a loss that you mention this to your personal injury solicitor.

Example B:- If you earn £300 net pay per week before the accident and you receive statutory sick pay following your accident and your employers make up the difference so you receive normal pay, the loss to your employers will be £212.45 per week.

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Loss of Overtime

We work out your net average salary based on your salary for the 13 weeks prior to the accident.  If you have worked overtime, this will be reflected in this.

Self Employed Workers

Self Employed Workers can still claim loss of earnings.  Your personal injury solicitor will calculate loss of earnings by looking at your accounts for normally 2-3 years prior to the accident.

Redundancy

If whilst you are off work you are made redundant make sure you mention this to your personal injury solicitor during the consultation process.  If you have continuing injuries and are tempted to take voluntary redundancy always speak to your personal injury solicitor first.  Sometimes, you may be selected for redundancy because of your absence due to injury.  If you lose your job we may be able to consider this ongoing loss as part of your accident claim.

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Evidence of Loss of Earnings

Your personal injury solicitor will write to your employers, or the insurers of your employer, for wage slips for 13 weeks prior to the accident, until your wage slips return to normal, ie when you are back at work.  We will look at your earnings on a case by case basis and then calculate any losses, whether it be a loss to you or to your employer.

TOP TIP

Keep all of your wage slips both pre and post-accident until your claim has concluded!