Lawford Kidd, Personal Injury Solicitors

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Law Society Critical of Changes to Small Claims System

The Law Society has criticised the government following their proposal to raise the small claims limit for personal injury claims to £5,000 and stop compensation payments for road traffic accidents and other such injuries.

The society has been critical of the changes as it believes that the system will result in unfair legal action as those who are entitled to and need compensation will be unable to obtain it.

Change to Small Claims Limit

The changes, which were announced in the Autumn Statement, saw Chancellor George Osborne raise the small claims limit and scrap damages for ‘minor’ soft tissue injuries. The government proposals would also see the removal of legal costs by transferring personal injury claims of up to £5,000 to the small claims court.

The move would also end the right to cash compensation for ‘minor’ whiplash claims.

It was claimed that the change would remove up to £1 billion in the cost of motor insurance with the Treasury saying:  “This will end the cycle in which responsible motorists pay higher premiums to cover false claims by others.

“It will remove over £1bn from the cost of providing motor insurance and the government expects the insurance industry to pass an average saving of £40-£50 per motor insurance policy on to consumers.”

Concerns Over the Changes to Minor Claims

Despite some believing that the changes would benefit those paying insurance on vehicles, others expressed concern over the changes with some believing that the small claims court would struggle to deal with an influx of minor personal injury claims while others believed the changes would act as a bar to justice.  Responding to the proposals made by the government, the Law Society also expressed concern.

Law Society President Jonathan Smithers said:“The Law Society is gravely concerned that these proposals will completely undermine the right of ordinary citizens to receive full and proper compensation from those that have injured them through negligence.

“These proposals will stop people obtaining legal advice for all personal injury claims below £5,000 and stop people claiming for often debilitating injuries arising from road traffic accidents if these injuries are considered minor.

“This is a fivefold increase in the present level of cases currently within the small claims procedure, benefiting those who have negligently harmed people and will result in more people trying to work their way through a complex court system without any legal advice. People recovering from their injuries will have to bring claims as litigants in person (without any legal advice) and this can be very unfair because those defending the claims can often afford to pay for legal advice.

“This, therefore, undermines ordinary people’s ability to access justice.”

He added: “Personal injury claims, even lower value claims, can include serious injuries arising from the fault of an employer or other road traffic accidents where legal rights can be very complex, and the injuries caused debilitating.

“A new limit of £5000 will mean personal injuries including facial scarring would be considered as ‘small claims’. This is totally unacceptable.”

Making a Personal Injury Claim

At Lawford Claims, we believe that regardless of the extent of your injury, if you were injured through no fault of your own, you deserve compensation. Our team of personal injury solicitors work on a no win, no fee basis meaning that you will only be charged for our services if you are successful in obtaining in obtaining compensation. To find out how our team of personal injury lawyers can help you, get in touch using our online contact form.

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Motor Accident Solicitors Society Association of Personal Injury Lawyers