Insurers Paying the Price for Solicitor Claiming Fees [15th Mar 2012]
The Association of British Insurers (ABI) has released figures which have shown that for every £1 paid out on accident liability claims another 93p is paid out on legal fees. In addition they say that the current legal system encourages people to make fraudulent claims and even exaggerate them. Any claims which are made are then subject to high legal fees which are paid for by insurance, which is turn leads to increased premiums, in particular for businesses. One large supermarket chain has even said that in order to pay for their personal injury claims, they need to keep five stores open. Nick Starling from the ABI has said this week that something needs to change. He points out that small businesses in particular need to be free of the worry of personal injury claims and being sued for even the most minor of injuries which occur on their premises.
The Asphalt Industry Alliance has made the claim this week that councils are spending £90 million each year on pothole repairs and yet it will still take more than ten years to clear the backlog. While local authorities have said that their repair costs have fallen due to new repair methods and streamlining the process, they still need an extra £10 billion to get the nations roads up to a reasonable standard. Councils have received a £200 million emergency fund following last years big freeze which caused major pothole issues across the country, but two thirds of councils say that they have not been able to repair all of the damage done. In addition councils are receiving 10% increased complaints about potholes, not to mention the £1.7 million which has been paid out in compensation for pothole damage in the last four years. The Minister for Transport Normal Baker has said that the government is giving councils £3 billion over the next four years to tackle the problem and he points out that the roads will not be fixed overnight.
The government is holding a consultation into whether to bring in a 'no fault' dismissal process to make the laws on unfair dismissal more simple and prevent too many employment tribunals and compensation payments. Vince Cable is behind the idea and has said that there is room for improvement in the employment sector and he would like to bring in measures to make it easier for employers while still being fair for employees. New proposals which are set to implemented soon include increasing the qualifying period for employment tribunals for unfair dismissal from one year to two. He would also like to see a simplification of the dismissal procedure, especially for small businesses. He suggests that it might be possible to let an employee go with a small compensation package. The TUC have said that this seems unfair for employees, while the British Chamber of Commerce has said that this would give employers the opportunity to invest and grow with more flexibility.
The MET Police have agreed to pay compensation of £23,000 to four professionals who were stopped and searched mistakenly. The four friends had never been in trouble with the police before when they were stopped by several police cars while driving home from a friends house. The car was surrounded by armed officers who shouted and swore at them. The driver was dragged from the car and thrown to the floor while another two passengers were handcuffed. One of the women involved later suffered panic attacks and needed counselling. The MET say that the car was mistaken for one which was thought to have firearms on board. They also claimed they are entitled to stop and search any car if they reasonably suspect it to have firearms on board. However it was found the basic checks were not carried out and that the attack was illegal. The police have apologised formally.
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