This week the Law Society has launched a six-week campaign to promote the value of getting proper legal advice from a solicitor for personal injury claims, and direct members of the public to advice on how to pursue a claim.
But one Shropshire Personal Injury lawyer believes more needs to be done to explain the new legislation that came into force on 1st April this year which changed the way personal injury cases are funded.
John Hulme, a Partner with leading Shropshire and North Wales law firm GHP Legal, says misinformed publicity surrounding the new legislation has led some people to believe that No-Win, No-Fee options no longer exist. He is concerned that confusion about the new laws will result in injury victims and their families failing to get the best help to claim the highest level of compensation.
"More needs to be done to explain how the funding part of the new legislation works," says Mr Hulme, who specialises in high value claims for brain, spinal and catastrophic injuries.
"No-Win, No-Fee arrangements are still available, but not every law firm handles this sort of work. Under the new set-up claimants still do not have to pay any up-front fees, and similarly they do not have to pay their solicitor's costs if the case is lost.
"The big difference is that when the case is won the claimant now has to pay the ‘success fee', but there is a cap to the amount that is payable. Additionally the claimant has to pay the insurance premium to cover the risk of paying the cost of medical evidence and other payments.
"Prior to April this year the ‘success fee' and the insurance premium were paid by the losing side. The system was changed because the Government believed this practice was driving up insurance premiums and encouraging claims. I don't think anyone believes premiums will fall.
"It is clear that the changes to the ‘conditional fee arrangements' are not the best news for claimants. But provided they or their families take advice from an experienced, professionally endorsed law firm with a proven track record in obtaining maximum compensation, there is still the opportunity to win a case with minimum outlay and win it well."