Howard Porter, Legal Executive at FDR Law discusses the potential changes in Personal Injury Claims
Q: Is it correct that the government proposes to increase the Small Claims Court limit for all personal injury claims to £5,000?
A: Yes, the Government have proposed those changes and it will affect all types of Personal Injury claims made, for example as a result of a car accident or an injury at work. Analysis of claims made in 2011 conducted by Nottingham Business School, has showed that the majority of the personal injury damages paid was for less than £5,000.
If the increase from £1,000 is introduced, most people who have been injured through no fault of their own will be forced to put their case through the Small Claims Courts with the following options:
- To seek legal assistance from a solicitor, the Small Claims Court does not allow for the injured person to claim costs from the defendant, even if your claim is successful. Therefore a Claimant will be responsible for paying for their own legal advice. This contrasts with the current system that enables a successful Claimant to recover some of the cost obtaining legal advice.
- To represent themselves without the help of a solicitor - this leaves people extremely vulnerable as defendants to a claim will be represented by lawyers or professional insurance claims handlers paid for by their insurers.
- Abandon the claim altogether – many people with perfectly legitimate claims may not be able to afford legal help and will unable to proceed. They will receive no justice or compensation and the negligent person responsible is not held accountable.
The law surrounding personal injury claims particularly relating to a workplace incident can be complex and it is always recommended in the first instance to seek professional specialist legal advice.