The Ministry of Justice has announced plans to increase the award limit in the small claims court to £5,000 for road traffic related personal injury claims only. It is also proposing a new threshold of £2,000 for all other PI cases.
The reforms, which the Government aims to implement by October 2018, are expected to drive down car insurance premiums by around £40 a year.
Tim Gray, Head of FBC Manby Bowdler’s Personal Injury team, examines what the proposal means to anyone contemplating a claim:
The law surrounding personal injury claims is complex so anyone thinking of taking a case to court should always seek legal advice in the first instance.
The aim of the increase in the small claim limit for soft tissue injuries incurred in a road accident is to reduce the number of rogue whiplash claims that have plagued the industry.
While this is an issue that needs addressing, there is a concern that this will lead to more people being forced to use the small claims court. This means they have to represent themselves, denying them access to justice and the representation of a solicitor.
As a lawyer, it’s worrying that the new limit may discourage people from seeking legal advice, which in turn could lead to genuine claimants or those with complex cases missing out on their rightful entitlement and legal redress.
In cases of clinical negligence for example, someone without legal experience would need to find and instruct the correct expert for their case as well as interpret the advice and understand the application of the relevant law to the medicine and vice versa.
Ultimately personal injury cases can be complicated and a solicitor will be able to explain the best course of action open to you and whether your case is suitable for the small claims court.
Our Personal Injury team has specialists experienced in clinical negligence and serious injury, who will be happy to talk to you about your claim.
* Tim has specialised in personal injury and clinical negligence claims for more than 20 years. He leads the firm’s Clinical Negligence Team, in addition to managing other high value and complex multi track cases, often involving head and spinal injuries and cases of amputation.
Tim has secured several substantial claims for seriously injured claimants during recent years and is experienced in successfully dealing with the often difficult challenges that arise during the claims process including the recovery of damages for care and the provision of statutory care services, and negotiating and seeking approval of orders for periodical payments.
For further advice, please contact him on 01902 364708 or firstname.lastname@example.org.