Monday, April 30, 2012

Is the injury element of the small claims track limit about to be increased?

I see that Professor Dominic Regan has asked the question as to whether an increase in the small claims track limit will be the government's answer to whiplash claims. Now that's the sort of thing which really could put the cat among the pigeons. Though normally the big debate centres around whether the limit should rise to say £10,000 or £15,000. However, this only applies to special damages and the real issue for whiplash claims is the limit for the personal injury element. This is currently £1,000. If they decided to raise that to say £2,000 this might exclude many of those whiplash claims that are predicted to last for three to six months. It might also give an incentive to insurers to test the evidence of real life claimants at court as to exactly how long their symptoms in fact lasted. This is because at present many cases settle on the basis of a medical report predicting the symptoms settling within that sort of a period. The bigger question would then be how would claimants be expected to provide objective proof of their injuries and to fight their cases on that basis when they're only getting back small claims track costs? Interesting times... 

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