PERSONAL INJURY SMALL CLAIMS LIMIT WILL BE £5,000
Kerry will deal with the small claims limit rise and contingency fees in his Small Claims, Portals and Fixed Costs course in March to May of this year – click here
The Autumn Statement to the House of Commons this afternoon contained an announcement that the small claims limit for all personal injury claims will be raised from £1,000 to £5,000. No date has been set but it is likely to be April 2017.
Courts will be prohibited from awarding general damages for pain, suffering and loss of amenity in minor soft tissue injuries, but “Claimants will still be entitled to claim for “special damages” including treatment for any injury if required and any loss of earnings.” So, an injured person will have to prove their claim and get medical evidence accordingly, but will then get no general damages for those proven injuries.
In reality that means that the small claims limit for whiplash will be £10,000 as it is only general damages which has the lower threshold, currently £1,000 but to be raised to £5,000. Absent general damages the small claims limit is and will remain £10,000.
The proposals are at page 125 at section 3.103 and read, in full:
3.103 Motor insurance – The government will bring forward measures to reduce the excessive costs arising from unnecessary whiplash claims, and expects savings of £40 to £50 per motor insurance policy to be passed onto customers, including by:
removing the right to general damages for minor soft tissue injuries;
removing legal costs by transferring personal injury claims of up to £5,000 to the small claims court.
Claimants will still be entitled to claim for “special damages” including treatment for any injury if required and any loss of earnings.”
The raising of the small claims limit does not require primary legislation. My view is that the removal of the courts’ power to compensate for a tort does require an Act of Parliament.
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