Recent plans announced by Chancellor George Osborne could deal a huge blow to many clients seeking rightful justice, warn experts at Hattons.
In the Spending Review at the end of November, the Chancellor said the government would pledge to raise the small claims limit for personal injury claims to £5,000 (therefore removing legal costs by transferring personal injury claims of up to £5,000 to the small claims court) and scrap general damages for ‘minor’ soft tissue injuries sustained in a road traffic accident such as whiplash.
These surprising moves have already been met with dismay by personal injury lawyers, and Bruce Hatton, Senior Partner at Hattons, echoed this sentiment: “It still remains to be seen whether these moves will definitely go through, but if they do it spells really bad news for thousands of people seeking rightful justice for injuries suffered through no fault of their own.
“By raising the small claims limit, it will mean solicitors don’t get paid, which might save the insurers money but means the clients have to pay us, which we feel is totally unfair. We feel that maintaining the current limit of £1,000 will allow many people to continue having access to justice, and it will avoid firms of solicitors going out of business.”
Bruce is urging anyone who agrees that raising the small claims limit to £5,000 is a bad idea to sign the online petition here.
In the same Spending Review, Osborne also pledged to end the right to cash compensation for ‘minor’ whiplash claims by saying: “We’re going to bring forward reforms to the compensation culture around minor motor accident injuries. Whiplash claims cost the country £2bn a year, an average of £90 per motor insurance policy, which is out of all proportion to any genuine injury suffered.”
Responding to this, Bruce Hatton added: “As with the small claims idea, this again is a blanket approach to something that is out of proportion and will see thousands of people who have suffered through no fault of their own having their right to justice restricted or denied. Pursuing a claim by utilising the advice of solicitors is often the only way people can get what they deserve, there are already sufficient measures in place to reduce cost and to quite rightly eliminate fraud and this move would take that option away. It’s totally unfair.”