Claimants injured in RTA’s worth less than £5,000.00 no longer able to recover legal costs

Claimants injured in RTA’s worth less than £5,000.00 no longer able to recover legal costs

28th July 2021

The small claims limit has increased from £1,000.00 to £5,000.00 in all road traffic accident cases from 31st May 2021.  This means save for a very notional fixed sum and court fee, even if successful Claimant’s are unable to recover legal costs.

As a result, many Claimants Solicitors firms simply can no longer offer ‘no win, no fee’ arrangements.

This means that claimants will often be forced to represent themselves.  The process may seems daunting so sadly many will decide  ‘not to bother’ which in our view, seems entirely unfair.  Claimant’s Solicitors did lobby against this, sadly unsuccessfully, in our view depriving thousands of having the means to claim compensation.

There are however a number of exceptions such as:

  • The claimant was a child or protected party or a “vulnerable road user”, which means, motor cyclists, cyclists, pedestrians, horse riders and those using mobility scooters;
  • The claimant is a personal representative of a deceased person;
  • The defendant’s vehicle was registered outside the United Kingdom.

Whilst the changes were intended to reduce the number of fraudulent claims, it sadly will leave those who otherwise would have sought compensation having suffered an injury through no fault of their own, deciding not to.

Alongside the changes to the small claims limits, the Civil Liability Act 2018 has also now received Royal Assent where the Lord Chancellor will have the power to set limits on what damages a claimant would receive for a whiplash injury. This is likely to see significantly lower awards being made than those available at present.

In addition, The Government has confirmed that it intends to increase the small claims track limit for personal injury arising out of employers’ and public liability claims from £1,000 to £1,500 from April 2022.  Whilst this is likely not to see such an significant effect on claimants as the reforms on road traffic claims, it is concerning in our view that claimants are being deterred access to justice.

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