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Whiplash bill to lead to workers losing their rights
21 November 2018
The Civil Liability Bill, otherwise known as the ‘whiplash bill’, is expected to pass through parliament this week. The bill has been brought in by the government as a means to tackle the so-called whiplash ‘epidemic’ throughout the UK. The effect on the vast majority of people who are injured in a road accidents is that they will no longer be able to recover any legal costs, and their damages will be slashed to a fraction of what they would get today.
For those injured at work the small claims limit will double to £2000. This means any injured person with a claim value of up to £2000 will be expected to represent themselves against well-funded and legally represented insurance companies.
Whilst the government argues that the bill is to cut down on those claiming for fraudulent whiplash claims, they fail to disclose that as a result insurers will be better off by £1.3bn. Moreover, hundreds of thousands of people making non-related whiplash claims will inadvertently lose access to justice.
In the future anyone who suffers an injury at work who is making a claim of up to £2000 will lose out.
The Civil Liability Bill has been met with heavy criticism from workers’ rights unions such as Unison and the GMB. Union leaders are outraged by the bill, viewing it as the government’s way of using ‘whiplash’ claims as an excuse to attack vulnerable claimants, whilst helping to further enrich large insurance firms – who are often in cahoots with the government. It is expected that the changes could also lead to irresponsible employers cutting corners in relation to health and safety in the workplace, with the knowledge that injured employees won’t be able to seek compensation on their own.
Unions believe that workers should be exempt from the increase in the small limit and plan to fight the proposals.