Changes to small claims limit

Could the government’s planned changes to small claims leave most Personal Injury claimants without the care they need?

Chancellor George Osborne’s recent Autumn statement announced a ban on general damages for ‘minor’ soft tissue injuries (see our previous blog) and a higher £5000 limit for small claims in all personal injury claims in an attempt to address the ‘compensation culture’ in the UK.

Unsurprisingly insurance companies have welcomed the unexpected announcement which could remove £1bn from insurance company’s costs.  Mr Osborne said they can pass this saving onto their customers which seems unlikely as some insurance companies have already started the raise their prices.

Law Society president, Jonathan Smithers, said: “The Law Society is gravely concerned that these proposals will completely undermined the right of ordinary citizens to receive full and proper compensation from those that have injured them though negligence.” Injuries do not arise only from car crashes. Injuries sustained in accidents at work and other places can also be extremely serious. Such claims are often legally complex, particularly where they result in debilitating injury. The limit on costs for small claims means that more people may try to negotiate the legal system without the necessary expert advice and resources to secure the right outcome. “These proposals are not, as stated, about stopping fraudulent claims. Fraudulent claims are clearly repellent but they should be dealt with by targeting the fraudsters and not the vast majority of honest claimants who have been injured and bring genuine claims”, continued Jonathan Smithers.

We remain concerned that many genuine claimant’s will not be given the expert advice that they may need to secure the compensation to which they are entitled.

   

 

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