Small claims limit will NOT be increased – Clearwater Solicitors respond
30th October 2013
Our personal injury solicitors have been concerned about moves to increase the small claims limit to £5,000, as this could significantly impact our ability to represent clients and for people to receive the full volume of compensation they deserve, and could spell problems for the long-term viability of the sector. While we breathed a sigh of relief when we found out that the government is no longer planning to do so, this issue will remain ‘under review’, and the limit could still be raised in the immediate future.
The Transport Select Committee had warned against the consequences of increasing the small claims limit, and we are pleased that the Ministry of Justice appears to have heeded their warnings. Although personal injury solicitors have been concerned that the preferences of our industry are being ignored in favour of the preferences of the insurance industry, it is good that consultations with the government on this issue appear to have been successful and productive.
Dangers of small claims increase
If the small claims limit was increased or is increased in the future, personal injury solicitors would have the following concerns:
– People will be more likely to accept smaller personal injury compensation settlements than they deserve, leaving them out-of-pocket and struggling to cope with the financial consequences of their injuries
– People would be less likely to seek professional advice and assistance and will be encouraged by insurers to use the small-claims fast-track. This could see people with valid cases facing an insurers’ legal team in court, and failing to succeed in a case they would have won with the help of personal injury solicitors
– Naturally, we are also concerned that the proposals would lead to a reduced number of clients for our personal injury solicitors
Other personal injury claim proposals
The government also proposed reducing the statute of limitations for road traffic accident claims; fortunately this proposal did also not go ahead. If it had, claiming compensation following motor vehicle accidents would become much more complicated, the courts might have to deal with a surge in claims, and many people would struggle to build a claim in the time available.
However, it looks like medical professional boards will be set up to analyse people’s injuries in whiplash injury claims, with a series of measures rolled out to challenge fraudulent, exaggerated of falsified whiplash injuries. Our personal injury solicitors are not too concerned about these proposals – hopefully, they will demonstrate that the myth of an endemic number of whiplash compensation claims is just a myth. People with genuine whiplash should still have no problems making a personal injury claim.
People should not be concerned about the proportion of their car insurance premiums that are spent on whiplash injury claims. Only a tiny proportion of a person’s insurance premiums can be attributed to fraudulent whiplash injury claimants, who can expect to face the full force of the law when they are discovered. Drivers will be thankful that they pay for personal injury claims should they suffer injuries of their own in a car accident.