Monday, 4 March 2013

Injured cyclists should act now

As I have mentioned before, the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 has introduced a seismic shift in the way that cases are funded. As a result, injured cyclists are going to be left in a worse financial position than in the current system. The changes are coming in on 1st April 2013 and I would urge any cyclist (or otherwise injured person, for that matter) who intends on bringing a case to get legal advice now.

At the moment, injured cyclists who want to bring a case would usually enter into a conditional fee agreement with their solicitor. The solicitor is entitled to charge a success fee if they win to reflect that they would earn nothing if the case lost. The success fee would then be paid by the driver's insurance company and nothing would be deducted from the cyclist's damages. 

The biggest change coming is that (as of 1st April 2013) success fees are not going to be recoverable from the driver's insurers. Instead a success fee to cover the risk of losing will need to be paid by the cyclist, meaning a deduction of up to 25% of their damages.

The only people to win out of the changes are going to be insurance companies who (as of September 2011) had donated £4.9m to the Conservative party since David Cameron became leader in December 2005. The Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL) has campaigned tirelessly against these changes but the government have not listened. Instead they have placed more importance on the profits of insurance companies than the rights of injured people.

5 comments:

  1. I take it that if you have a case in progress before April then this will not apply?

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    1. If you have solicitors acting for you I would suggest contacting them to make sure they have put all the appropriate measures in place.

      However, in general, if you have appropriate funding in place (e.g. a conditional fee agreement and after the event insurance) then you will be able to recover the success fee and insurance premiums from the defendant.

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  2. Great, thanks Oliver. I certainly remember the insurance and a number of other documents - been over a year since mine kicked off.

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