Cyclists injured on the roads will find it harder to pursue compensation from drivers at fault as a result of proposals from the Ministry of Justice, according to solicitors at the Leigh Day law firm.
In last year’s autumn statement, then Chancellor George Osborne unveiled plans to raise the small claims for personal injury limit from £1,000 to £5,000.
The Government was last month reported to have dropped the proposals, with The All-Party Parliamentary Cycling Group welcoming the news. However, it seems that this was not the case with the proposed change appearing within a consultation document published earlier in the week.
Under the new proposals, injury claims of up to £5,000 would fall within the small claims process meaning solicitors would not be paid by the losing party for any work carried out on the claim.
The move is a bid to get tough on bogus whiplash claims, but Andrew Bradley, partner in Leigh Day’s personal injury team, pointed out that it would also have a negative impact on injured cyclists as many would be unlikely to obtain appropriate legal advice.
“Many cyclists will be aware of how painful a fractured clavicle can be, and the extent to which it can impact on their ability to enjoy cycling and many other aspects of day-to-day life. To suggest that someone with an injury of this nature should lose the entitlement to legal support because insurers feel that they are facing too many whiplash claims seems grossly unfair.”
The Ministry of Justice says the proposals will save motorists around £40 a year on insurance. Justice Secretary Elizabeth Truss said: “These reforms will crack down on minor, exaggerated and fraudulent claims. Insurers have promised to put the cash saved back in the pockets of the country’s drivers.”
But Bradley said that without legislation there were no guarantees.
“In reality, shareholders of the major insurance companies will be the real beneficiaries of this policy, whilst cyclists and many thousands of others injured through no fault of their own will lose hundreds or thousands of pounds.”