An expert in personal injury is warning claimants that a new law designed to reduce insurance fraud could instead penalise those that have sustained serious personal injuries.
While dishonest claims will be fully dismissed, a court will currently reduce the amount of compensation awarded if a claimant is found to have been exaggerating.
However, the new Criminal Justice and Courts Bill which comes into effect in January 2015 means that any scale of dishonesty, whether unintentional or not, will result in a claim being thrown out of court in its entirety.
In a typical claim for personal injury, compensation will be awarded for the injuries sustained and in most cases this would include damages such as loss of earnings and medical expenses.
The new law will extend to dismiss claims for all other general damages, meaning claimants who are found to have been fundamentally dishonest will have the whole of their claim dismissed.
Pam Roberts, legal expert at Woodcocks Haworth and Nuttall, said: “While the new law will make great strides in curbing insurance fraud, the Bill may penalise genuine claimants. Those that make honest mistakes in claims could also be wrongly punished and end up losing a claim even if their dishonestly was wholly unintentional.
“The new rules reinforce the need for those considering making a personal injury claim to seek expert legal advice. If claimants fail to follow the correct procedures they could face their claim being thrown out of court and receive zero compensation, even if they are entitled to it.”