Personal injury lawyers reacted angrily to government proposals to clamp down on spurious whiplash claims.
The ministry of justice will reveal proposals today, in an attempt to reduce the spiralling number of whiplash claims the insurance industry say are putting huge inflationary pressure on motor premiums.
However, First4lawyers hit back at the proposals, and said they were "far worse" than previously expected.
"[The proposals] do nothing other than to benefit the insurance industry fat cats at the expense of innocent accident victims. We sincerely hope that there is a real consultation and that this isn’t a ‘done deal’ as the language of the announcement suggests," said Qamar Anwar, a managing director at First4Lawyers.
Vidisha Joshi of Hodge, Jones and Allen said the government plans could hit bone fide whiplash victims: "We have proposals that would severely penalise injured people and limit their access to justice," she said.
Increased levels of traffic and negligent driving are the real reasons for the ongoing rise in road traffic incidents. These are the issues that need to be tackled, rather than finding ways to save insurers money.
Pressure group Access2Justice lamented the timing of the consultation. It said that it would not give sufficient time for parties to prepare responses to the government plans.
"We are... extremely disappointed that the ministry of justice has decided to close the consultation on 6 January 2017, as this effectively means that three weeks will lost to us thanks to the Christmas and New Year holidays," said spokesperson Andrew Twambley,
Meanwhile, Qamar Anwar took the opportunity to point both barrels at insurers:
“The insurance industry has an increasing reputation for ripping off consumers, be it through auto-renewal increases, dodgy black-box data and attempts to breach Facebook advertising guidelines. Just how can we trust them to ensure they will offer fair and reasonable settlements to those injured in an accident? Soon they will be complaining when they have to pay out for damage to vehicles."