Government plans to change the rules around workplace injuries could prevent a significant number of genuine accident victims from claiming compensation which they have suffered through no fault of their own.
The government’s Civil Liability Bill aims to double the Small Claims Limit for victims of workplace accidents from £1,000 to £2,000.
Shopworkers’ union Usdaw argues that the limit should be set at £1,500, as a fair reflection of inflation since the limit was last increased in 1999. That is in line with the recommendation of Lord Justice Jackson to only increase the limit in increments of £500 as inflation dictates.
Tens of thousands of injured workers risk being prevented from pursuing claims against their employer.
With no access to legal support or advice, workers will be left with no option but to pursue often complex claims against expert legal teams instructed by their employer’s insurers.
Injured employees may simply choose not to enforce their legal rights and will not pursue a claim. The number of claims arising from workplace injury is falling annually and these reforms will serve to accelerate this process.
High workplace health and safety standards are supported by employers facing the risk of court proceedings if they don’t enforce them and a worker gets injured. The government plans will reduce that incentive and bad employers may feel they can get away with lowering standards.
Usdaw is making a very important case – these proposed reforms are unfair, unnecessary and will significantly restrict access to justice for injured workers in England and Wales. I will campaign against them.