Justin Madders

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Shadow health minister tackles personal injury puzzle

Injured people will be left alone in an unfair battle against powerful insurance companies, says Jigsaw Law

Labour's shadow health minister has weighed into the debate over reforms to personal injury claims, arguing it was 'vital' that vulnerable people have access to legal advice.

While visiting Jigsaw Law, the MP for Ellesmere Port and Neston, Justin Madders, pictured, who worked as an employment solicitor before moving into politics, offered his support as the personal injury sector prepared for the latest government shake-up.

'Nobody wants to see job losses, so it is vital that the government fully understands the implications of its proposed changes,' he said. 'A number of studies are currently being conducted to get a better picture.

'The changes to small claims limits are a real concern. This shouldn't be about politics, but ensuring that vulnerable people have access to the best advice and support is vital.'

Chancellor George Osborne's Autumn 2015 statement outlined changes that scrap general damages for 'minor' whiplash injuries, and raise the small claims limit to £5,000 for all personal injuries claims.

The Treasury believes that tightening the rules will cut out many bogus claims, speed up genuine cases, and see insurance companies pass on savings of between £40 and £50 to their customers.

However, Christian Lindley, managing director of Jigsaw Law, has argued that the proposed changes will deny access to justice for those injured through no fault of their own.

'My worry is that this could be just the start. The goalposts could move again, and people with a real need for support and financial recompense for their losses will be left high and dry,' he said.

'We have built the Jigsaw Law business over several years and employ 50 hard-working people. But the access to justice is the overriding issue, and injured persons will be left alone to face an unfair battle against powerful insurance companies, or may not bother, and others would accept woefully inadequate offers.

'Before these changes are put in place I felt that the local MP should be aware of the implications for his constituents.'

Jigsaw Law said it has already received enquiries from clients concerned that they will be denied recompense for their injuries.

'We continue to support our clients,' explained Lindley. 'We have prepared information packs, and over the next few weeks we will be writing to all of our customers to ensure that they are aware of the proposed changes and to contact their local MP.'

The government's plans have been roundly criticised by the legal profession. The Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL) described Osborne's as 'callous'.

APIL has also claimed that the final report produced by the government's Insurance Fraud Taskforce went 'far beyond its remit'.

Article originally published by the Solicitors Journal -  http://www.solicitorsjournal.com/news/personal-injury/road-traffic/25571/shadow-health-minister-tackles-personal-injury-puzzle

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