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Increase in small claims limit for non-RTA personal injury cases is cut and delayed

The government has announced that the small claims limit for all personal injury claims, other than road traffic accidents, will rise to £1,500 rather than £2,000 as originally expected.

personal injury

Belinda Lancaster

The increase is part of the reforms contained within the Civil Liability Act 2018 that also raise the small claims limit for road traffic accident-related personal injury claims (whiplash) from £1,000 to £5,000.  The new rules will impose a tariff scale for whiplash compensation starting at £260 for injuries lasting up to three months and rising to £4,345 for injuries lasting from 18 months to two years where there is a psychological injury, and from £240 to £4,215 where there is no psychological injury.

These reforms are due to come into force on 31 May 2021, however, implementation of the non-RTA element of the reforms has been deferred and will now be implemented in April 2022.  This means that if you have an accident that is not road traffic related, such as at work or in a public place, you can still get legal help to make a compensation claim, if the claim is likely to be valued at over £1,000 (the current small claims limit for such accidents), until April next year.

The reforms do not relate to clinical negligence claims.

Announcing the change, justice minister Lord Wolfson of Tredegar, said that the government had listened to the views of “a number of stakeholders, including a wide range of representatives from across the insurance industry and the personal injury and trade union sectors” and, whilst delivering the reform remains a key government priority, it believes that “a more modest increase in the small claims track limit for non-RTA related claims is justified”.  Lord Wolfson said that delaying the implementation of the non-RTA element of the reforms should enable focus to be placed on the commencement of the whiplash reforms and give affected stakeholders more time to prepare.

Also, Lord Wolfson has acknowledged points raised by the Lord Chief Justice in which he questioned tariff amounts, the fact that they would not be reviewed for three years and that he would prefer the judiciary to have more discretion in such cases other than for judges simply to be allowed to increase damages by 20%.  Lord Wolfson said that the government will not change its position regarding the tariffs or the judicial uplift, but it will analyse available data in one year to see if an early review is appropriate.

If you have a road traffic accident (RTA) before 31 May 2021, we may still be able to help you claim compensation, even if it is likely to be a low-value claim.  After that date, we will not routinely be handling low-value RTA claims.  However, we can still help you to claim compensation for other personal injury claims likely to be valued at over £1,000 until next April and will continue to act on behalf of motorcyclists, cyclists, horse riders, pedestrians, users of mobility scooters, children and claimants under a disability who are involved in road traffic accidents as these are exempt from the new provisions within the reforms.

Contact our personal injury experts now.  We will look at your case and advise what your next step should be, and, if we are able to take on your case, we will offer you a no-win, no-fee arrangement.

Author: Belinda Lancaster, partner.

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