Lawyer Monthly - November 2022

As a personal injury solicitor with over 20 years’ experience, how has the legal framework changed in this time – specifically in respect of the level of legal protection afforded to those who suffer injury? The legal framework has changed dramatically over the last 20 years or so. In the late 1990s, legal aid was effectively withdrawn from personal injury. This was strange, as when one won a personal injury claim that was backed by legal aid, there was no actual cost to the legal aid fund because the tortfeasor’s insurers paid the legal costs and the benefits back in full together with some NHS costs, so the net effect for the state was a gain. The state wanted to find a way to still recover the benefits paid out but to pass on the risk of funding personal injury claims that were not ultimately successful. This gave birth to the use of ‘No Win, No Fee’ agreements that passed the risk onto the claimant and the claimant’s lawyer. The conditional fee agreements with claimants were usually backed by After the Event (ATE) insurance and have become a common feature of litigation over the last couple of decades. The success fees charged by the lawyer contributed to the costs of losing cases and was a commercial basis to enable litigation services to be provided to the client with the additional recovery of ATE premiums. ATE insurance was, and still is, crucial to protect claimants from the risk of paying their own disbursements in an unsuccessful case and the other side’s costs, for example, when failing to beat a Part 36 offer. There was a decade or so whilst this system worked reasonably well, delivering representation and compensation to those injured through no fault of their own. However, there was then a whole series of changes What is the State of UK Personal Injury Law? 50 LAWYERMONTHLYNOVEMBER 2022 Following regulatory changes and great strides in technology, the landscape of personal injury law has changed significantly throughout the past 20 years. In this feature, Express Solicitors partner Damian Bradley offers an in-depth look at both the process of pursuing a personal injury claim and the regulations that govern them. Drawing upon his professional experience, he discusses the process from law firm selection to proof of liability. Expert Insight

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