Denton and Reddish MP, Andrew Gwynne, has urged the Government not to restrict access to justice for victims of workplace accidents because of assertions there is an ‘epidemic’ of whiplash compensation claims.
The Ministry of Justice is due to report on the outcome of its consultation on personal injury (PI) reform over the next month, as a campaign backed by the Labour Party has highlighted the £200m that insurance companies stand to gain from the changes at the expense of workers.
This refers to the admission in a Ministry of Justice impact assessment that it expected insurers only to pass on 85% of the savings that the reforms would generate, leaving over £200m in profit for insurers. The assessment also highlighted the wider cost to the NHS and the loss of tax revenue.
The proposal is driven by concerns about whiplash claims, but will also affect employer and public liability cases. The Ministry of Justice is due to respond to their consultation by April 7.
Andrew Gwynne said:
“Under current arrangements, staff injured at work can receive 100% of the compensation awarded to them, however, raising the small claims court limit to £5,000 jeopardises that.
“Research by the union Usdaw, which represents retail, transport and distribution workers, found around 70% of the cases they were currently investigating were under £5,000.
“If workers’ access to justice is restricted, less scrupulous employers will undoubtedly let safety standards slip, and employees will suffer. The Government needs to think very carefully about how they proceed to ensure that there aren’t unintended consequences for workers’ health and safety, as well as their access to fair justice.”