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The personal injury law in the UK is under threat due to Brexit negotiations. As the UK locks horns with the EU in finding the best deal for its citizens, lawyers and insurance companies are worried about the state of personal injury claims in the country. In 2019, UK will say goodbye to the EU and many of its regulations, which may cease to exist.

According to medical negligence solicitors, the UK will then have two choices- uphold the old EU laws as they are and avoid confusion, or take a step forward to create its own laws. If the EU laws are upheld, the country will save many lawyers and citizens from confusion over new laws. However, if the government takes the bold step of reforming all the laws, it will have to work closely with the insurance sector as well as various political ideologies to work out a perfect new law.

Why does it sound so difficult?

EU laws that governed personal injury in the UK were accepted throughout the land. This meant that it was easier to manage any personal injury claims due to smaller number of regulations and next-to-zero contradictions in laws between states. When UK finally says goodbye to the EU, it will have to face pressure from a political faction that is against the ‘claims culture’, especially related to personal injury claims. Section 69 of the Enterprise Act 2013 has essentially watered down the effect of the employee claims related to personal injury. The political pressure against claims cloture supports the insurance companies suggesting that too many personal injury claims will be driving these companies into a loss.

In addition to this, the UK will have to quickly move into the new law and draft a policy for personal injury claims and other insurance instruments as soon as the EU laws cease to exist in the land. In such a situation, the UK government will have to work extra hard to ensure that the UK citizens in the EU get hassle free insurance covers and the EU residents in the UK get equally good coverage.

What will likely happen?

We have less than 2 years for drafting a divorce bill with the EU. The UK is still wondering how to work its way around trade deals and even citizenship issues. It is highly likely that there will be no immediate effect of Brexit on personal injury laws. The UK government will not revoke EU laws immediately and give itself some time to frame the new directives. For now, this will be a wise decision. The UK is already facing tough times with the divorce negotiations and they may not want to distract themselves in making personal injury laws while negotiating.

Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, which prescribes the minimum standards for safety of workers, will still be in place. Flight claims, for delayed or cancelled flights, will still be available to all citizens as per the EU regulations. However, there could be changes in the claims related to personal injury outside the UK. This time, the claim will be settled by the Motor Insurer’s Bureau (MIB) in the UK and the reimbursements will later be settled with the EU member states.

The Consumer Protection Act of 1987 and the Sixth Directive of 2009 will be in effect even when UK leaves EU, unless they are explicitly revoked by the government.

About 27 million UK citizens hold European Health Insurance Card (Ehic). The pensioners who have retired in an EU state but wish to travel to another member state will also retain their access to these cards.

There is nothing to worry about finding awkward and hastily designed new laws in 2019. However, it would be interesting to note how UK government tackles political and business pressures to create new laws that match EU standards and don’t create confusion.



Andy McGowan
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