Shifting Gears


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A new Government website called MyLicence is due to go live this Summer which will unlock the DVLA’s database of penalty points. The key benefactor will be the motor insurers who will be able to compare potential customers’ policy applications with their actual driving records. The Association of British Insurers contends that one in five policyholders withhold convictions when taking out their policies.

When the website becomes open to the public, in theory you will be able to check any individual record, provided you know the postcode, National Insurance and driver number of the person you are looking up.

Is this another attack on an individual’s civil liberty and right to privacy or would you welcome being able to check another person’s driving record? If you have a child who is taking a lift with someone who is not known to you, would you feel a greater sense of comfort if you knew they had a clean driving record? Alternatively what if you were involved in a collision that wasn’t your fault and you suffered a common accident injury such as whiplash from a driver that had fraudulently obtained their insurance cover?

Whiplash

On the subject of whiplash, the Ministry of Justice has announced that a Working Group will undertake a programme to create a medical panel that will assess whiplash injury claims. The Working Group will be made up of members from insurance companies, the Law Society, British Medical Association, and Solicitors.

The introduction of medical panels were the key finding to come out of the Government’s response to a consultation which examined the volume and cost of whiplash claims published in October 2013.

The Justice Secretary, Chris Grayling, has spoken out regarding the current trend of some insurers when making settlement offers in claims that they do so without requiring medical evidence and without the Claimant obtaining legal advice. Grayling has stated that he wanted these companies to “end the practice”.

The hope is that a fairer assessment will assist in throwing out fraudulent and exaggerated claims through the introduction of a truly independent medical assessment panel.

Legal Expense Insurance

Whilst we are discussing panels, many motor vehicle or home insurance policies offer Legal Expenses Insurance (LEI) which many litigants are using to fund their legal costs. However, many litigants were restricted in obtaining legal advice by their LEI provider who allowed them only to obtain legal advice from their own claims staff or panel firms.

The recent EU case of Sneller –v- DAS has allowed Claimants to insure themselves against litigation costs which can become expensive but also have the autonomy to choose their own legal representatives, giving Claimants the best chance of succeeding with their case.

If you are considering taking legal action you must ensure that:-

• You take legal advice as soon as possible; and

• You examine any insurance policies you have taken out to assess whether LEI is included.

We at Blacks have a specialist Personal Injury Department dealing with all aspects of injury and road traffic claims.

Luke Patel, Blacks

Luke Patel, Blacks

Please contact Luke Patel
on 0113 227 9316
or by email at LPatel@LawBlacks.com

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