Personal Injury Legal Insight and Market Analysis

This year, Chambers and Partners has picked up on some interesting market trends in the field of personal injury following the Covid-19 Pandemic. The Chambers UK Bar team share a fascinating look at this area of UK law.

Published on 18 October 2022
Written by Cavan Ferguson
Cavan Ferguson

Logjams easing post-pandemic

Restrictions in place during the pandemic led to a shift in working habits and the introduction of remote hearings. Market sources noticed an increase in the number of settlement meetings taking place. It is possible this was caused by a backlog in the courts and the prioritisation of hearing catastrophic injury cases. However, one interviewee told us that “personal injury cases are now picking up following a lull.” Another added: “logjams are easing post-pandemic.” As a result of this, some sets have reported a significant increase in revenue from personal injury work in the past 12 months.

Remote hearings presented some opportunities, as one barrister indicated: “You might not physically be in London, but you do see a lot more work within the London area through remote working.” There are occasions, however, where remote hearings may not be favourable. For example, one individual highlights the challenge of remote hearings in mediations, stating: “in some mediations it is impossible to come to an agreement without being there in person.”

Psychiatric injury claims

Market sources have also reported changes in the type of work that barristers have been instructed on. The field of psychiatric injury is an area that has seen a “marked increase in claims following the pandemic.” Sources also note a “rise in bullying claims.”

This is thought to be due to changes in general awareness surrounding psychiatric injury, the removal of stigmas and the fact that employees are more likely to tell their employers about such issues. Stress at work and psychiatric injury claims are complex areas of personal injury law.

With respect to psychiatric injury, one individual even describes it as “Byzantine” given the nature of complicated medical evidence used in proceedings. A suggestion made by one interviewee is that the increase in these legal cases will allow for case law to catch up with statutes which are already well-developed.

Fundamental dishonesty and RTAs

Researchers on the UK Bar team have picked up on another interesting trend, reported in London and regional Personal Injury sections. There is an attempt to rebalance the use of fundamental dishonesty as an argument put forward in personal injury claims.

Supposedly, Judges are starting to push back on this argument. It is possible the market has reached the “high point of fundamental dishonesty being used as an argument in personal injury cases.” This is sure to be an interesting area of development over the next few years. In the context of Road Traffic Accident claims, interviewees on the North Eastern circuit noted that during the pandemic “there was a slowing down in claims due to people not being on the road as much.” Additionally, the introduction of the Official Injury Claim portal has led to “whiplash injury work [reducing in volume]” according to one barrister.

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Hybrid working

Barristers and staff members appear to be adapting well to the hybrid of online and in-person working. Over the past few years, sets have broadened the scope of their offering by providing creative ways for clients to remain engaged and up to date with the latest developments in the market.

Webinars and podcast series set up during the pandemic remain popular. Additionally, clerking teams have bolstered their client service by offering industry-specific training to clients.

Personal Injury in Chambers UK Bar 2023

To find out which sets and barristers are ranked for this area in the latest guide, please join the UK Bar team at our virtual launch event on 20th October.