The Motor Accident Solicitors Society (MASS) has warned the Transport Select Committee (TSC) against increasing the small claims track from £1,000 to £5,000, insisting that it will lead to genuine accident victims suffering from significant injuries struggling to find legal representation.
Responding to the Committee’s inquiry into whiplash, MASS added their weight to the argument against the increasing the limit and highlighted that it would either price accident victims out of the claims process or leave them having to face the lawyers without representation, exposing them to the defendants insurers highly trained lawyers
MASS Chairman, Craig Budsworth said: “We have asked the Committee to pay particular attention to the ill-thought proposal to increase the small claims limit which we believe will be deeply damaging.
“A £5,000 limit would probably mean that people with injuries ranging from a collapsed lung to minor brain damage will find themselves without access to independent legal advice and fighting their corner alone, unless they can afford legal assistance from their own pocket. Many people will find this complicated process so daunting that they will choose not to bring a claim at all.”
He continued: “We know that the government wants to cut costs and reduce fraudulent claims, but surely they are not proposing that real accident victims with some nasty injuries are prevented from seeking legitimate recompense and holding dangerous drivers to account. Only the insurance industry will benefit from this proposal by either saving on payments they should be making or having poorly prepared victims facing them.”
The submission from MASS follows that of the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL) who also raised the issue of the cuts on fixed recoverable costs, which the government has already introduced.
It is clear that the biggest motivation for the government throughout this process of reform is money and not the welfare of the general accident victims and if the changes to small claims track is introduced it will claimants no longer being able to realistically claim for serious injuries such as head or brain injuries, collapsed lungs fractured nose with surgery and hearing loss and tinnitus among over examples.
1. MASS; http://www.mass.org.uk/solicitors/our-management-committee/