(Guest post) The results of a recent government consultation on road traffic accident personal injury claims have just been released. The results are that the government proposes to raise the threshold of road traffic-related personal injury claims that can be dealt with in the small claims court, from £1000 to £5000. The consultation also recommends independent panels being set up to diagnose whiplash. This policy change is designed to reduce the number of cases that are dealt with in the normal “fast-track” system, and thereby weed out the high numbers of cases which are fraudulent or exaggerated.
The risks to claimants, however, are that by ‘going it alone’ in the small claims track, they will risk appearing undefended against an opponent who may have legal representation. They may underestimate the amount of compensation they are entitled to, fail to claim early enough, or fail to challenge a rejection of a valid claim. For this reason, it is important to speak to a personal injury lawyer in the UK for specialist legal advice regarding personal injury claims, however small the amount you are claiming.
There is also the risk that highly complex cases may have to be heard in the small claims court which is not ideal for this purpose, or that claims may be deliberately inflated in order to make them pass into the threshold to be heard in a fast-track setting.
Road traffic accidents can cause a wide variety of injuries, the most common of which is whiplash. Whiplash is damage to the neck muscles, caused commonly by a vehicle impact jarring the head and neck. It can be very uncomfortable and, if it becomes chronic, can be debilitating on a day to day basis. The government aims to prevent local GPs from misdiagnosing whiplash out of a desire to please regular patients, and conceive of the plans as a crackdown on people claiming personal injury compensation without a proper diagnosis. There is also a risk that valid cases may never be heard if the claimant is not aware that they have a case to receive compensation.
For specialist legal advice regarding personal injury claims, speak to a personal injury lawyer in the UK.