News that government plans to reduce compensation and access to justice have been shelved until 2020 are welcomed by Corries.
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Here we report on some recent news which will affect millions of accident victims in the future.
Government plans to increase a small claims limit to £5000 for road traffic accidents have been put on the back burner until April 2020. Plans had been in place to bring in massive changes n April 2019 but it is clear that this was not workable. The plans also included increasing the limit for other accidents at work or for public liability to £2000 or more.
There is a common mis conception of a “compensation culture”. Insurers often raise the issue of people making false or fraudulent claims. They wanted the government to introduce measures to curb the claims industry. Following pressure from insurers the Civil Liability Bill was working through Parliament. All of this is despite figures confirming that the number and costs of claims has been falling since 2012.
The bill looks to change the small claims limit at which damages would incur costs to be raised to £5000. The result of this is that solicitors could not be paid to handle cases worth less than £5000 as there would be no legal costs to do so. This means people would either have to give up a claim or try and make the claim without a solicitor. A reduction in the damages would also flow through this scheme.
Solicitors and other organisations representing victims of accidents have welcomed this development. The Law Society (who represent Solicitors in the UK) have produced a helpful guide to explain how this would work – see here
Corries Director Howard Bonnett commented
“Those of us in the legal sector working for victims (and even those on the defendant side) must acknowledge that the government’s efforts are a step too far.
Increasing the small claims limit to £5000 for all road traffic accidents does nothing other than deny justice to hundreds of thousands of victims each year.
I ask the government to stop, think and listen before it looks at this again. Any legal system which prevents someone from getting proper and due compensation after an injury reflects poorly on a society. I cannot believe that even this government, so often lobbied by the insurance industry, would want that. Do they want to be known as the architects of a system where reckless driving or other claims go un compensated. These proposed changes – if they still went ahead – would mean innocent victims would have to fight their corner against multi billion insurance companies.
Is this really what the government intends?”
Other Parts of the Bill- the Discount rate
The delay also slows down another important part of the same bill. Sadly the bill itself may still progress through Parliament this year and lead to the introduction of massive change for serious accident victims.
In particular the bill is to look at affecting the rate of investment return and interest used for working out claims for serious injuries claims.
These changes affect the rate of return applied in serious cases where people need care, aids and equipment, help and support and other expense following long term injury. The insurance industry is lobbying for a lower rate. This will mean victims would get significantly less compensation..The changes could leave many accident and disease victims running out of compensation and having to struggle.
Howard Bonnett added
“The current discount rate helps Claimants to achieve both fair and sensible settlements particularly where there are medium or long-term financial losses following injury.
The fact that the government has been delayed from revisiting this is also welcome news. I ask that the government take this period of delay to reflect on and really think about whether this is acting in the best behalf of society. Surely no one wants to see seriously injured people running out of money ?”
Corries are accident claim specialist. See our link here for more information about how we can help you. For a quick and sensible chat about your claim call us FREE on 0800 655 6550. We are here to help