Claimant law firms are calling for the industry to collaborate rather than embrace the reforms

Claimant lawyers have criticised the government’s plans to roll out the whiplash reforms as “potentially disastrous, littered with dangers and potential pitfalls”.

They are also calling for the government to allow the industry to come forward with a fairer and more proportionate programme to tackle fraudulent claims.

Under the plans the government wants to scrap the right to compensation or put a cap on the amount people can claim for minor whiplash injuries.

It also wants to raise the small claims limit to £5,000 from £1,000.

Carpenters Law partner Donna Scully said the government’s proposed reforms were unfair and risked having the opposite effect of driving down the cost of premiums.

She added: “This spurious questioning of the legitimacy to pursue justice and compensation is deeply troubling for one injury only. Condemning legitimate and reasonable claims challenges one of the basic foundations of our centuries-old legal system and our system of restorative insurance cover.

“The focus for reforms should be to tackle fraud. Genuine claimants should not be penalised. So much more can be achieved by an open dialogue and collaboration to find real solutions to tackle fraudulent and other unwelcome behaviour.

“The reforms are a very blunt objective that will attack genuine motor insurance customers instead of sorting out the bad people.”

MASS has also said the proposals will not protect the interests of claimants and has called on the government to allow the industry to come up with a “fairer” system.

Chair Simon Stanfield said: “Past cross-industry initiatives have demonstrated that so much more can be achieved by dialogue. The sector should be given time to discuss areas of possible common agreement.”

“We’re disappointed the government is pressing ahead with this agenda, despite the mounting evidence of the negative unintended consequences.

“Whilst the banning of pre-medical offers is welcome, raising the small claims limit for all PI claims and capping minor whiplash claims will fall straight into the hands of those who would exploit claimants, and the system.”