David Cameron has announced a new plan to cap the amount of money lawyers can earn from personal injury cases. Describing the vast industry in accident and personal injury litigation as the 'health and safety monster', Mr Cameron pledged to curb its excesses to protect small businesses.
The plans would see lawyers' fees in personal injury, public liability and employers' liability cases capped at £25,000 in value. The move has already been successfully implemented for road traffic accident cases.
The plans have been welcomed by UK insurance companies which have long called for an end to the so called 'have a go' compensation culture, which sprung up after the introduction of no-win, no-fee legal representation at the end of the 1990's.
Small businesses are often forced to make out-of-court settlements even in cases they expect to win, simply because the risk of losing is so great.
The Association of British Insurers which represents the industry in the UK has recently complained of a rise in spurious and exaggerated personal injury claims and excessive legal costs. According to their own statistics, the number of personal injury cases received by insurers rose by 72% in the eight years to 2010.
"We have long campaigned for reforms to halt the compensation bandwagon, to reduce frivolous claims and excessive legal costs," said Otto Thorensen, the Association's director-general.
However, personal injury lawyers have reacted angrily to the claims that they are somehow using this tide of litigation to feather their own nests.
"The Government is acting without proper consideration as to the implications this legislation may have for injured people," said David Bott, president of the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers.
Richard Jones, head of policy and public affairs at the Institute of Occupational Safety and Health condemned the Prime Minister's remarks as "appalling".
"Labelling workplace health and safety as a monster is appalling and unhelpful as the reason our legislative system exists is to prevent death, injury or illness at work, protecting livelihoods in the process," he said.
Read more on the story (The Guardian)
Accidents in the workplace (FindLaw)
Find local personal injury solicitors throughout the UK (FindLaw)