Raising small claims court limit to £5,000 would have ruled out compensation for many injured cyclists

The Ministry of Justice is reported to have abandoned plans to raise the small claims court limit to £5,000, a move which would have prevented many cyclists injured in road traffic collisions from obtaining compensation from a driver who was at fault.

The move, announced by then Chancellor George Osborne in his autumn statement last year, had been proposed as a means of eliminating bogus whiplash claims.

However, speaking at the time, Tom Jones, head of policy at Thompsons Solicitors, which specialises in personal injury, said: “Most road traffic accident personal injury claims are worth less than £5,000 meaning that the rise in the small claims limit will leave the bulk of injured people out in the cold."

The All-Party Parliamentary Cycling Group welcomed the news that the proposals were being dropped, referring to them as ‘draconian’.

The group quoted Paul Kitson, personal injury lawyer with Slater and Gordon, Cycling UK`s lawyers, who said: “I believe that the plans were a knee jerk reaction to a small minority of fraudulent claimants. It would have been an injustice to deny innocent victims of bad drivers the right to claim damages for their injuries as a way to prevent fraudulent claims. I also have doubts that any savings would have been passed on to the consumers through lower premiums.”

The Association of British Insurers (ABI) was less enamoured with the news.

James Dalton, Director of General Insurance Policy at the ABI said: “If the Ministry of Justice delivers on its promises, millions of honest customers will be better off. If they cave in to the vested interests of the ambulance chasers and cold callers, those businesses will be laughing all the way to the bank at the expense of honest motorists.”

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