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Press releases

Positive progress in personal injury market but concerns remain - survey

Solicitors Regulation Authority

3 min read Partner content

A perceptions survey published by the Solicitors Regulation Authority suggests positive progress in personal injury market but shows that concerns remain.


The Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) has today published a survey of personal injury sector views which shows most respondents think the market seems to be generally working well, though there are still areas of concern that need to be investigated further.

The independent survey, conducted by ICF Consulting, involved more than 250 firms and interviews with regulatory and representative bodies, trade associations, insurers and the judiciary. The personal injury market - which is worth an estimated £3bn a year - has gone through a period of significant change. The Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 (LASPO), which included a ban on the payment of referral fees, had a significant impact.

The survey suggests the sector is generally adapting positively to change. Consumers are still benefiting from high levels of access to services. Overall there is a perception that there are now fewer frivolous cases.

And the majority feel that the relationship between solicitors firms, insurers and medical reporting organisations (MROs) has improved since the introduction of MedCo - an independent system to help source medical reports when there are soft tissue injury claims.

Yet concerns are still being expressed. Only four percent of respondents believed the quality of medical reports had improved, with many feeling they had deteriorated. And around 12 percent of survey respondents felt that frivolous cases were 'prevalent' in the market.

Restrictions on low-value payouts have also seen firms look to diversify, moving away from road traffic accident (RTA) claims. This has seen the growth of new areas of work, such as clinical negligence, occupational disease and noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL).

Several respondents raised concerns about the lack of knowledge within law firms to deal with such cases appropriately. This could result in poor client service and ill-conceived court proceedings. Since 2012, fewer than one fifth of the 200,000 claims for NIHL have been eligible for compensation.

Crispin Passmore, Executive Director of Policy, said: "It is important that the personal injury market is working in the public interest. That means making sure solicitors work to high standards within a competitive sector where people can easily access legal services.

"This survey suggests that in many instances claims are legitimate cases that are well handled. Yet people still have concerns about some poor practice.

"We are now carrying out a more in-depth review to fully understand the nature, extent and impact of any concerns. We can then take appropriate steps to help manage any risks and raise standards."

The SRA will publish the findings of its in-depth review next year.

The report published today can be found here: www.sra.org.uk/sra/how-we-work/reports/pi-report.page
 

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