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To inform your local MP or local newspaper about the impending personal injury reforms, including the increase of the small claims limit, feel free to use our ready-made letter template below. Alternatively, it can be downloaded here.
I am writing to express my deep concern about the detail and implications of the proposed personal injury reform recently outlined by the Ministry of Justice (MoJ). Although it is said that the new reform is intended to tackle the rise of minor, exaggerated and fraudulent ‘whiplash’ claims, according to the ABI, fraudulent claims only account for 0.25% of motor accident claims, making these measures totally disproportionate. In addition, I cannot see any concrete measures in place to ensure that insurers actually pass any predicted savings back to the consumer.
I am equally concerned by the significant drawbacks to the proposal that will leave many vulnerable non-drivers, such as cyclists or pedestrians, out in the cold when it comes to their right to compensation. Considering that approximately 20,000 cyclists are reportedly seriously injured in road traffic accidents every year, it is paramount that everything is put in place to best aid recovery, and help cope with the challenges being injured brings.
The Government has announced that it will be increasing the small claims limit from £1,000 to £5,000 for claims arising from all road traffic injuries and preventing victims from recovering any of their legal costs even if their claim is successful. This approach is much too generalist and simply is not the answer.
I fear that these changes will undermine access to justice and do little to tackle fraud. Targeting cyclists who are not part of the perceived problem is equally unfair and I’d like to see them omitted from this reform to avoid them getting caught up in something that they needn’t be.
The reform, if allowed to proceed, would impact all road users and by forcing cyclists off the road for fear of less access to justice would also have far reaching implications on our local population as a whole. Thousands of journeys made in a car are three miles or less and we know that the bicycle can play a big part in us using our cars less. It is easier, quicker, more reliable, cheaper, healthier and more environmentally friendly, not to mention reduces congestion, which can result in significant costs to the local economy.
Additionally, this is being introduced at a time when the small claims court is already overstretched. Do we really need to add to their pressures by introducing workloads that are currently being easily supported by the legal system?
The small claims court was set up to deal with simple low-value disputes such as faulty goods and is not appropriate for dealing with injuries such as these. This overloading will just add to the number of cases, which in turn will see an increase in the length of time for these to be resolved, often at the physical and financial expense of the claimant.
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As your constituent, I request that you oppose the personal injury reform and raise these concerns with the Ministry of Justice, during the passage of the Prisons and Courts Bill through Parliament.
As a local resident, I request that you make more people aware of the Government’s plans to remove the right to compensation for most road accident injuries.
Thank you in advance for your support on this important matter.
Published on 13th April 2017.