Act now to stop fraudulent PI claims
To underline that intention, in 2014 the coalition government published the Nuisance Calls Action Plan, alongside which the former justice secretary Chris Grayling unveiled plans to impose fines of hundreds of thousands of pounds on claims management companies (CMCs) engaging in unsolicited calls and texts and other 'bad practices'.
To underline that intention, in 2014 the coalition government published the Nuisance Calls Action Plan, alongside which the former justice secretary Chris Grayling unveiled plans
to impose fines of hundreds
of thousands of pounds on claims management companies (CMCs) engaging in unsolicited calls and texts and other 'bad practices'.
But three years after LASPO's introduction, cold calling still poses some serious problems, with a number of CMCs actually encouraging fraud and actively encouraging members
of the public to progress spurious claims.
I recently witnessed an example of this malpractice when I was sought out by a contact for legal guidance on how to deal with
a persistent CMC. The person concerned had been involved
in a minor car accident and was being inundated with calls.
The CMC was doing everything in its power to entice him to
make a claim, with the promise of thousands of pounds in damages if he just said he had been injured, even though he hadn't been.
The government may be taking steps forward in this battle, and indeed a recent report by the Claims Management Regulator highlights that the number of authorised CMCs has fallen
from a peak of 3,213 in 2013 to 1,610 in 2016.
But with figures from Aviva revealing that the number of motorists making claims for whiplash rose by 9 per cent to more than 840,000 in 2013/14,
it is clear that stronger regulation is required to stop this problem from escalating.
The reputation of the personal injury (PI) sector has been deteriorating for years, and the cold-calling tactics of some CMCs, which appear to be centred on harassing individuals until they agree to pursue a claim, does not help a sector already feeling the pressure of government reforms.
For the PI sector to maintain any sense of credibility, it is vital that associated CMCs conduct themselves in a professional, honourable, and transparent manner. CMCs issuing false promises and actively encouraging unsuspecting individuals to commit fraud are dangerous to both the public
and the legal industry.
If this business model is to remain, which I fear will be the case, then it is essential that
the Law Society, Ministry of Justice, and Solicitors Regulation Authority step up what should
be combined efforts to identify rogue companies, fine them,
and shut them down where necessary.
After all, the legal sector doesn't need any more unscrupulous middlemen. It needs a sustained campaign to win back the public's faith and a return to the days when law was seen as a noble profession rather than a money-making scam.