Victims are re-victimised by our civil justice system. Much needed financial compensation is allowed to be deferred until the completion of a court case.
Criminal prosecutions are rare. Where a driver has been charged with an offence, this should be enough proof of liability for an interim claim to be processed.
The difficulty in getting interim claims was highlighted in RoadPeace’s 1998 Justice Campaign Manifesto.
Despite the introduction of the Rehabilitation Code and the appreciation for early intervention, too little has changed in the 15 years since and this remains a problem.
We are calling for the victim’s solicitor to be granted access to the police collision investigation report so that they can make the case for liability.
We were able to raise the problem with interim claims with Louise Casey, the first Commissioner for Victims and Witnesses. She had undertaken a survey of bereaved families and reported an average financial cost of £37,000. Nearly half of families had to borrow money following the death of their loved one. Thus she could appreciate the importance of interim payments to families.
She wrote to Keir Starmer, Director of Public Prosecution in October 2011, asking that he review the guidance on disclosure to see if more information could be released in order for interim payments to be authorised. But the government’s focus has been on deterring fraudulent claims rather than expediting genuine ones, especially those involving cases of financial hardship. And so we believe that victims are re-victimised by our civil compensation system, even more due to the recent changes in compensation procedures.