The UK is due to leave the EU imminently with or without a deal, and the Prime Minister is now expected to ask EU leaders for a lengthy delay to Brexit, as she continues to seek backing for her deal from the DUP and Tory Brexiteers.
With all that is happening in the political sphere at the moment, what is often ignored is the effect that the UK's departure from the EU will have on our rights that we have taken for granted, especially for those people unfortunate enough to have suffered injury as a result of an accident.
Life After Brexit
Many members of the public would be surprised to hear that many of the laws that protect UK citizens if they suffer personal injury originate from European directives.
European directives are laws that member states within the European Union accept as national law. Until the UK formally departs from the EU, membership ensures that any directives issued by the EU are usually adopted into our national law.
Examples of EU directives that have been adopted into UK law include many pieces of legislation that ensure the safety of UK citizens whilst at work, legislation that protects UK citizens if they have suffered an accident in an EU member state and subsequently allow them to bring a claim for compensation in the UK rather in the country of accident, and legislation that protects members of the public from injury as a result of faulty goods.
Change Post Brexit
Unless the UK government decides to repeal existing legislation that has come into force from EU directives, it is unlikely that UK citizens will notice any immediate change to personal injury laws.
The UK government has recently pursued an agenda of widescale legislative reform in the personal-injury sector including sweeping changes to the protocols that govern road traffic accidents. The intention is to effectively remove solicitors from what the government describe as 'low value' injuries. The risk of this will be that injured claimants are not fairly compensated, as they will be left at the whim of defendant insurance companies who will want to reduce financial outlay rather than justly redress injured individuals.
Given the appetite shown by the UK government in making these changes, we are keeping a keen eye on any reform to existing personal injury laws following the UK’s departure from the EU.
If you are concerned about how Brexit will affect the law and your rights, please keep an eye on this blog or get in touch with our friendly team of personal injury and medical negligence solicitors to discuss this further.