Government drops plans to reduce road injury compensation limit

Thanks to the snap election and a Brexit legislative log-jam the Ministry of Justice is to drop controversial plans to reduce road injury compensation limits.

Cycling UK, British Cycling and other cycling organisations have been campaigning against planned changes.

The Ministry of Justice has 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, but this 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 percent 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.

Cycling UK’s legal campaigns officer Duncan Dollimore 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.”

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