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Personal Injury Whiplash Reforms

18/10/2018
Posted by: Lauren Connors
Earlier this year the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) announced that it would delay the proposed ‘whiplash reforms’ until April 2020. The reforms, which were due to come into effect by April 2019, will now be delayed for a year so that the online claim platform can be tested from next October. The delay means that those with whiplash claims will still require the services of a legal professional, instead of representing themselves for small claims. The knock-on effect is that personal injury specialists are still in high demand.

 

A chance to make a difference

The delay means that uncertainty around the future of personal injury specialists has been postponed. We are receiving job vacancies across the personal injury niche, including solicitors, legal assistants, fee earners, and legal secretaries, to name the most sought-after positions.

For those who already work in personal injury, the news may come as a relief. The fact that there are plenty of opportunities available doesn’t just mean job security. One of the major criticisms of the reform is that the removal of trained legal professionals leaves a void that will be filled by unscrupulous claims management companies. If you’re passionate about seeking justice for those people who have been injured, then a post in personal injury gives you the chance to help people in need. Even if you haven’t worked in personal injury before, the timing could offer you a way to try out this field without any long-term commitment.

Background to the whiplash reforms

The Association of British Insurers (ABI) is lobbying for reforms to the current compensation system. It wants to weed out fraudulent claims and make it easier for people with genuine injuries to make a claim. The online system that has been put forward will remove the need for those people with a low-value claim to use legal representation – they will instead essentially represent themselves. The ABI says that this will reduce the legal costs associated with a claim and result in lower insurance premiums for motorists. However, there is some debate as to how much of a good thing this will be for the general public and the extent to which it is a fair system for ordinary people to represent themselves.

The numbers – a viable opportunity

According to the ABI, there are 1,500 whiplash claims every day in the UK. And with all of those people still requiring legal representation for another year, the numbers present a wide and varied opportunity to undertake work in the personal injury arena. Furthermore, the specialism isn’t limited geographically; accidents can happen at any time, anywhere. That makes personal injury a viable career choice whichever corner of the UK you’re based in.

In fact, Clayton Legal's own research bears out the numerical significance of the specialism. We surveyed 12,000 firms earlier this year and found that 20% of those were personal injury specialists. That’s a significant proportion of the legal sector, and no doubt radical reforms could have equally significant consequences for the personal injury field as a whole.

The delay offers some reassurance to those who were feeling uncertain about the future of their jobs and what might happen to their specialist field. Since news of the delay was announced, Clayton has seen an increase in the number of personal injury vacancies, indicating that demand for legal professionals in this niche is high.

If you’re considering a move, or even if you work in the personal injury field already, get in touch by scheduling a call with us. We’d be pleased to hear from you and we hope we can help make your next career move as smooth as possible.
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