Small Claims Limit to increase and ‘General damages’ claims to be banned for ‘minor’ injuries
Back in November last year, Chancellor George Osborne delivered the Autumn statement which contained two quite striking proposals affecting personal injury claims. The changes, due to come into effect in 2017, are being made to reduce the cost of claims for injuries such as whiplash and to combat ‘fraud’ and the ‘compensation culture’.
Insurers claim that motorists will save around £40-50 each year on their insurance bills due to the proposed changes, though many personal injury victims could lose out if the plans do come into effect.
The proposal to raise the limit for claiming compensation for personal injury via the small claims court from £1,000 to £5,000 may be good news for some people making a personal injury claim. It will allow them the option of handling the case themselves, which could be cheaper than seeking legal support.
However, some people may be deterred from claiming without a lawyer as the process can be complex and time-consuming and individuals may miss important points experienced lawyers would consider, with the risk that many claimants will either simply not claim, or their claim may be settled for significantly less than the true value .
The second proposal, to ban ‘general damages’ claims for ‘minor’ soft-tissue injuries, including compensation for pain, suffering and loss of amenity, is likely to affect many genuine injury cases that simply do not fit the criteria set by the new rules.
This is a worry considering the law has long recognised the right to full compensation, even for minor genuine injuries. Victims of often debilitating whiplash-type injuries may not receive the compensation that they would be entitled to under the current system*.
If you would like to sign the petition against these proposed changes, please follow this link; https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/113810
Over 20,000 people have already signed it. You may also be interested in writing to your local MP on this issue, whose details you can find on signing this petition. If you have any questions or would like to talk to our team about personal injury, please contact us.
*However, an important point to note is that individuals will still be able to claim for ‘special damages’ such as loss of earnings.