The Ministry of Justice’s refusal to raise the small claims court limit has been hailed as a victory for accident victims and for common sense.
At the moment, victims who have a claim worth less than £1,000 cannot claim their solicitor’s fees from the person responsible for the accident. Insurance companies have long been lobbying the government to raise the limit to £5,000, which can include injuries that last up to two years. If the limit had been increased, many more people would have lost the right to claim back their solicitor’s fees, and may therefore have been denied the expert advice they need.
The Ministry of Justice had been looking into the possibility of raising the limit in order to try and deter people from making fraudulent road traffic claims, but there was also the danger that the move would have prejudiced the majority of claimants who are honest.
It is understood the MoJ decided to back away from an increase because of concerns raised during the consultation and following the House of Commons transport select committee report, published in the summer, which opposed it. Consequently the limit will remain at £1,000 – for now.
Law Society chief executive Desmond Hudson hailed the MoJ decision to heed the warnings of the transport select committee and maintain the small claims limit at its current level for personal injuries as ‘good news for accident victims and a victory for common sense’.
‘It reduces the risk of people with real injuries being fobbed off with less than they are entitled to,’ he said.
‘The government has made the right decision in the face of relentless lobbying by the insurance industry seeking to increase the small claims limit and make it more difficult for genuine claimants to obtain just settlements.
‘We will be studying the MoJ’s consultation in detail, because we are clear that weeding out false claims must not be at the expense of genuine claimants or radical meddling with the working of the civil justice system with consequent risks.’
Insurers often make an offer to an innocent party soon after a road traffic accident without a medical report being obtained. This could mean that their claim is settled for significantly less than it is actually worth.
Beecham Peacock Solicitors in Newcastle can advise you if you have had an accident of any type. If you would like some advice, please contact us on 0191 2323048 or email us on firstname.lastname@example.org
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