Ambulance chasers a problem? Not as much as the Government

Industry news roundup: week ended 3 Feb 2014:

Everyone likes to say that ambulance chasing personal injury lawyers are a real problem nowadays – but let’s be honest, the Government isn’t exactly innocent.

Not that people haven’t been working overtime to blame personal injury solicitors. In fact, new research was revealed this week that medical negligence cases in particular are notorious for attracting disreputable legal professionals that try to milk the NHS for as much cash as they possibly can. Some estimates say that legal bills of almost £200 million every year are generated by these specific types of personal injury claims.

Now I’m not going to say that there aren’t some right bastards out there – unfortunately there are, and they often do try to generate as much income for themselves as they can regardless of the merits of the case they’re trying. At the same time, these disreputable lawyers are an absolute minority and shouldn’t be used to hoist the entire legal industry on its own petard – we simply can’t allow a few bad apples to ruin the whole bunch, now can we?

Speaking of bad apples, the Government has decided to no longer hold mesothelioma personal injury claims exempt from the Legal Aid act, despite the fact that mesothelioma has some very important distinctions that hold mesothelioma claims apart from your run of the mill slip and trips. Despite the fact that it takes decades for the condition to develop – and that it’s exclusively caused by exposure to asbestos – the cries of Opposition MPs that wanted to preserve the exemptions fell on deaf ears.

Now if you ask me there’s very little about a mesothelioma claim that can be politicised, so I really don’t understand the Government’s stance on this issue. I suspect it comes out of large firms pressurising the Government to make things easier on them, considering how big business has the Government in its pocket more or less exclusively. Stripping mesothelioma claims of their non-exempt status means fewer claims being brought in general and smaller compensation awards as well, which benefits no one but the companies that have to pay out on these claims. In other words, the mesothelioma victim gets to suffer without recompense whilst large companies and insurance firms get off without even a slap on the wrist. How is this fair?

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