Government drops plans to deny road victims justice
The Ministry of Justice’s (MoJ) had previously planned to increase the small claims limit for victims involved in “road traffic accidents” from £1000 to £5000. These changes were to be made in conjunction with other compensation reforms proposed in the Prison and Courts Bill, which was dropped on Thursday.
Through its “Road Victims are Real Victims” campaign, Cycling UK, together with RoadPeace and Living Streets, argued the small claims changes would disproportionately affect cyclists’ personal injury claims, 70% of which are under £5000.
As claimants’ costs are not recoverable in small claims cases, the increase would have left cyclists injured by at fault drivers short-changed, potentially paying most if not all of their compensation back to their lawyers for legal fees, or simply put off from pursuing any rightful claim for injuries received.
Over 6,000 people agreed with Cycling UK that these reforms cheated victims out of their rightful compensation, and responded to the MoJ consultation in support of Cycling UK’s “Road Victims are Real Victims” campaign.
Duncan Dollimore, Cycling UK’s Senior Road Safety and Legal Campaigns Officer said:
“Cycling UK are delighted that following our recent meeting with MoJ officials to highlight the impact of the small claims proposals, our submissions to the Justice Select Committee inquiry into compensation reforms, and the thousands of people who backed our campaign, that the Government now accepts road victims are real victims.
“The Government had tagged proposals to increase the small claims limit onto plans to reform what they claimed were fraudulent and exaggerated whiplash claims, despite the fact that whiplash claims by vulnerable road users, such as cyclists, are a rarity.
“The issue of an increase to the small claims limit might re-surface at some point in the future. If it does, any future Government must give more thought to the impact on the most vulnerable road users, who shouldn’t be scapegoated under a misleading headline of whiplash reform."
Notes to editors
- Cycling UK, the national cycling charity, inspires and helps people to cycle and keep cycling, whatever kind of cycling they do or would like to do. Over a century’s experience tells us that cycling is more than useful transport; it makes you feel good, gives you a sense of freedom and creates a better environment for everyone. www.cyclinguk.org
- The Ministry of Justice consultation on “Reforming the soft tissue injury (whiplash) claims process” is open until 6 January 2017 and is available at https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/reforming-the-soft-tissue-i…;
- According to law firms Slater + Gordon and Leigh Day (both firms support Cycling UK’s position on this consultation), 70% of cyclists’ compensation claims are for less than £5000.
- According to Andrew Bradley at Leigh Day, the range of injuries that could potentially be classified as small claims may include (depending on the severity):
- neck, back and shoulder injuries with symptoms persisting for up to 2 years;
- fractured clavicle, elbow or wrist;
- fractured ankle or foot;
- collapsed lung;
- fractures to the nose or cheekbone;
- facial scarring;
- loss of teeth;
- Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
Press contact information
Cycling UK Press Office