It is important that anyone who has been the victim of a road traffic accident is able to fairly and effectively claim compensation for injuries they have suffered as a result of negligence. We must also ensure that that people are not able to make frivolous or fraudulent claims and that insurance premiums are affordable for responsible motorists.
While affecting the victims of road traffic accidents, I am also concerned that the government’s proposed reforms to whiplash will also impact on many others, including those injured at work. The current Small Claims Track limit has not been increased since 1991. However, the proposed increase to £5,000 would exclude 90 per cent of all personal injury claimants who use the small claims process. Such a dramatic increase would undermine access to justice, effectively leaving people with legitimate claims without any legal representation for what can often be complex cases.
I do not believe that there is a compensation culture in this country and while there is a difficult balance to strike, it is important that the interests of all victims and their genuine claims are given the consideration they are due. Access to justice should not be based on ability to pay.
The government needs to listen carefully to the very serious concerns that have been raised about their proposals and change its plans.