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8 Feb 2019

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Small Claims Limit amendments "victory for common sense" says Cycling UK

Posted on in Business News , Cycles News , Political News

Government drops plans to include cyclists and other vulnerable road users in £5,000 small claims limit thanks to campaigning from Cycling UK.

The rights of injured vulnerable road users, such as cyclists, horse-riders, pedestrians and motorcyclists were upheld today, as Justice Secretary David Gauke MP announced that the Government had dropped plans to include them in proposals to increase the small claims limit to £5,000. The announcement was made during the second reading of the Civil Liability Bill (Lords) in the House of Commons on the evening of Tuesday, 04 September.

cycling ukThe move was welcomed as "a victory for common sense" by Cycling UK. Since December 2016, the charity has urged Government to realise proposed changes to the small claims limit for personal injury would adversely affect those at greatest risk on the UK's roads.

The small claims limit for personal injury claims currently sits at £1000. This effectively means, if you have a personal injury claim where you receive more than £1000 for your injuries, your legal costs are recoverable.

Government proposals to increase the small claims limit to £5000 were announced in December 2016. These proposals would mean people claiming compensation for injuries worth less than £5000 would not recover legal costs, even where the other party was to blame. Cycling UK was concerned this would leave victims paying their own legal costs and not receiving full compensation.

This would have particularly affected cyclists, as analysis of past cases by Slater and Gordon and Leigh Day Solicitors showed 70% of cyclists' compensation claims are for injuries worth less than £5000, such as fractures to collarbones, elbows, wrists etc.

The Government now plans to raise the small claims limit to £2000, along with all other claims - a move which is still beyond the House of Commons Justice Select Committee's recommendations for a £1500 limit.

The Government's change in policy comes after concerted campaigning by Cycling UK and Fletchers Solicitors which has met with officials and ministers since the initial changes were announced at the end of 2016.

Duncan Dollimore, Cycling UK's head of campaigns said:

"Cycling UK is relieved the Government has at last listened to reason and dropped plans to increase the small claims limit for vulnerable road users to £5,000. This is a victory for common sense and ensures the interests of victims are put first.

"Increasing the small claims limit from £1000 to £5000 would have cheated pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists from full compensation after being injured on our roads.

"Common injuries including among these groups include fractured collarbones and wrists, all of which usually sit below the proposed £5,000 threshold. However, if previous proposals had gone through, 70% of vulnerable road users would have been prevented from recovering their legal costs even when someone else is to blame for their injuries. That's neither fair nor right - and with Rory Stewart's announcement today, both balance and victims' rights have been restored."

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