APIL Annual Conference 2016
The Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL), the not-for-profit organisation representing injured people, has this year held their Annual Conference in Birmingham - Simpson Millar was pleased to join the event.
APIL's conferences help to advance the great work personal injury lawyers do to support injured people. Melanie Burden Head of General Personal Injury
attended the event and is here to explain some key points from the day:
Lord Faulks QC Discusses Personal Injury Reforms
Lord Faulks QC presented a speech to delegates titled "Civil Justice, The Way Forward"
. He discussed the government's continuing commitment to reforming the civil justice system as a whole and the personal injury market. He was limited in the detail he could provide on future reforms due to the imminent local and mayoral elections.
To the delight of the audience he was keen to stress he did not like the tabloid press that unfairly characterises personal injury lawyers as ambulance chasers and acknowledged that the vast majority of lawyers act for their clients with great competence. He spoke of fundamental dishonesty reforms and that the aim is not to have a whole galaxy of claims determining these issues, but rather to deter people from exaggerating their claims so this will become less of an issue.
Lord Faulks also re-iterated the government's concern about the cost of low value fraudulent personal injury claims which result in higher insurance premiums for the consumer. He explained the government's commitment to remove awards for low value soft tissue injuries in RTA's and to increase the small claims limit to £5000, pointing to the assertion that the level of compensation paid out is out of all proportion to the genuine injuries suffered.
Insurance Premiums to be Monitored
He added that compensation for injuries will still be available for all claimants with significant injuries
and they will still be entitled to claim for rehabilitation and loss of earnings. He addressed concerns that insurers may not pass on savings from the reforms on to consumers by assuring the effects of the reforms and level of premiums will be monitored.
Changes to Fixed Recoverable Costs
Lord Faulks spoke of the forthcoming plans to extend the Fixed Recoverable Costs up to £250,000 and explained how the government is looking at how best to deal with this with all types of civil litigation. This will be subject to consultation for different categories of claims. He announced that the Civil Justice Council are considering the introduction of Fixed Recoverable Costs in claims for Noise Induced Hearing Loss and a report on this is expected later this year. He was keen to emphasise that reform and tighter regulation of claims management companies is on the agenda, recognising that the claims management industry requires reform of a more fundamental nature.
Inspiring Speech on Adopting a Collaborative Approach
We heard a truly inspirational speech from Mark Pollock, Explorer and Collaboration Analyst who explained his journey following loss of sight and paralysis which he suffered as a result of a spinal injury. He spoke of his amazing and courageous quest to find a cure and spoke of his realisation that, when faced with such challenges which are not chosen, we should be competitors rather than spectators, be realists rather than optimists and be collaborative rather than soloist.
What an inspiring speech. This offers real hope for paraplegics that collaboration between medics, scientists, physiologists and robotics will one day find a cure.
The Continued Fight for Injured People's Rights
Another stirring speech was from incoming APIL president Neil Sugarman, who urged all PI lawyers to win the hearts and minds of the public, the press and media and judiciary to show we fulfil a genuine holistic function in accessing rehabilitation and treatment that innocent genuinely injured victims we deserve. He urged everyone to help with the fight back that injured innocent people deserve.
Our Personal Injury TeamSimpson Millar's team of solicitors are amongst leading experts specialising in personal injury claims. Many of our lawyers are proud members of APIL and continuously strive to promote access to justice for injured people.