Pedestrians, cyclists, motorcyclists and horse riders are being caught up in a ‘dangerous’ government policy that should not apply to them, says a top UK lawyer.
The Civil Liability Bill will be debated in the House of Commons tomorrow and if passed, would see a rise from £1,000 to £5,000 in ‘the small claims limit’ for anyone who has been injured in a collision on the road.
The Vulnerable Road Users Group is lobbying as many MPs as possible to oppose the proposed changes.
Paul Kitson, a lawyer at Top 100 firm Hugh James and leading expert in road traffic legislation, said: “The Government is supporting insurance companies and marginalising ordinary people, particularly those on low incomes, who should have access to justice.
“It is extremely worrying and sets a very dangerous precedent.
“In a civilised society, anyone who has suffered an accident or trauma on the roads should be entitled to the legal support and guidance that is required to navigate complex and unwieldy insurance policies to achieve a successful outcome.
“Even the most minor road accidents can put someone out of work for a long time, and without the chance of seeking compensation to cover living expenses, these people could very quickly fall into serious debt through no fault of their own.
“The ordinary person, especially those from low-income backgrounds, will be hugely penalised if these reforms go ahead.
“The increase to £5,000 is far above the standard increase by inflation, and is such a drastic increase it feels like someone has made a serious miscalculation.”
If passed, the Civil Liability Bill will introduce a tariff scheme limiting damages for whiplash injuries to fixed amounts, as well as a new system for calculating personal injury discount rates in cases of catastrophic injury to ensure that claimants are not ‘over-compensated’.
The new small claims limit will form part of these discussions tomorrow.