Compensation changes will leave Paralympic heroes without vital support

Jonny Mulligan of the Sound off for Justice campaign explains how government changes to ‘no win, no fee’ agreements will rob Paralympic heroes of vital support.

By Jonny Mulligan of the Sound off for Justice campaign

This week marked the fifth International Paralympic Day, and saw a day of celebration in Trafalgar Square. Next year it is expected that 300-350 paralympians will represent Great Britain. However, today there are proposed changes in government policy that could reduce the number of British paralympians who are able to compete after 2012.

As a consequence of changes the current government is proposing to ‘No Win No Fee’ legislation, sportsmen and women who are victims of very serious accidents will be left without vital funding for rehabilitation and future care.

The government is set to change the law concerning the funding of accident claims and the compensation victims receive. These changes are likely to mean those who have sustained very serious and traumatic injury will have to rely more upon financial assistance and rehabilitation provided by the State.

As a result, the prospective Paralympians of 2016, 2020 and beyond may find it very difficult, if not impossible, to rehabilitate their lives and get the vital support and financial assistance that they will need to succeed in sport.

Today the British Paralympic team is made up of people from all walks of life, including former Soldiers, rugby players and people who have had motorcycle accidents. They are all bound together by the fact they have overcome great personal challenges and injuries and have become leading sportsmen and women in their fields.

Many of them could not have achieved what they have in their lives without making a successful claim for compensation.

To clarify, over the next few months the government will try and pass legislation through Parliament which will reduce accident victims’ compensation by 25%. The government’s plans will also make it more difficult for solicitors to take on complex injury cases and many victims are likely to be left representing themselves in court. The result of both will mean accident victims will find it increasingly difficult to get the compensation and funding required to help re-build their lives.

Sound Off For Justice is campaigning against these unjust changes to the law which we believe will cost both the taxpayer and victims more money than they will save. Sound Off For Justice has an alternative package of savings (pdf) which is better for the country, the victims and all future British Paralympians.

Paralympians Baroness Masham and Talan Skeels-Piggins pledged their support, and we need to join them in sounding off to make sure accident victims can still access justice.

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