Early rehabilitation and early settlement of claims is what all stakeholders are working towards. Where this is achieved without independent legal advice, though, there is a real danger that it will be at the expense of the injured person, who may settle a claim for considerably less than its true value.
It is clear from the article "NU to overhaul whiplash process" (News, 9 November), that Norwich Union's (NU) primary concern is to cut costs, when the most important aspect of any claim is that the claimant receives full and fair compensation and proper rehabilitation.
This can only be achieved through the provision of independent legal advice.
Many people involved in accidents may assume from Norwich Union' s initiative that it is normal procedure for insurers to deal with them direct, unaware they are able to obtain independent advice on the way their claim is handled.
There is also a clear conflict of interest in insurers managing claims on which they will then have to pay out.
It is imperative that future regulation and enforcement in this area is absolutely rigorous, if injured people are to be protected.
Richard Langton, President, Association of Personal Injury Lawyers