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Injured as a cyclist? You may have to go to small claims if it's <5k

Discussion in 'Advocacy and Cycling Safety' started by jarlrmai, 21 Nov 2016.

  1. jarlrmai

    jarlrmai Veteran

  2. Arjimlad

    Arjimlad Tights of Cydonia

    Location:
    South Glos
    This applies to injury claims only. "Small claims" means that your solicitor cannot get their fees from the opponent.

    So you'd either have to find someone who will work for nothing at all, have insurance for legal fees which covers small claims, or do it yourself.

    At the moment if you have a non-injury claim for less than £10,000, legal fees can't be recovered. It's de-lawyered small claims which can be a good or bad thing depending upon how complicated your case is or how articulate and organised you are. Plenty of people fall foul of court procedures & end up bogged down. I have had some cases where, thanks to well intentioned but misinformed amateurs, the good points have been overwhelmed by a plethora of really bad ones so that even the good points have become tainted & impossible to get to.

    So, only more serious injuries will end up with representation in court.
     
  3. Reiver

    Reiver Whistling down the hills, tearing up the climbs

    Location:
    Middle Marches
    will this apply in Scotland with our very different legal system ?
     
  4. jarlrmai

    jarlrmai Veteran

    Does this include:

    Cash paid to cover expenses incurred through the loss of your bike as a form of transport.
    You wages you were paid whilst off due to the injury which your workplace will want to claim back from the insurance?
     
  5. DaveReading

    DaveReading Veteran

    The MoJ's remit doesn't include Scottish courts.
     
    mjr, jarlrmai and Reiver like this.
  6. Arjimlad

    Arjimlad Tights of Cydonia

    Location:
    South Glos
    I'm not an injury lawyer but if your claim involves an injury then it is affected by this.

    Say you're knocked off & have broken bones & a long recovery - your claim is going to be more than £5k what with the bike, "general damages for pain & suffering" and loss of earnings.

    If you get knocked off and you have, let's say a sprained wrist which might take four weeks to recover, but you can still work, then your claim is likely to fall under the small claims regime as it will be for less than £5k & you won't be able to claim costs of legal representation.

    If you suffer no injury and your bike/clothing/etc is worth less than £10,000 then again, legal costs can't be recovered under the small claims rules. That would not be an "injury claim".
     
  7. Drago

    Drago Guru

    Location:
    The middle bit
    Cue injuries and claims suddenly bumping North of the £5000 threshold.
     
    classic33 likes this.
  8. vickster

    vickster Legendary Member

    Location:
    Sutton
    My understanding is that there are precedents and guidelines which control the likely payout for injury, so it's not a complete free for all

    You'll still be unlikely to get £5k for road rash for example
     
    Arjimlad likes this.
  9. Arjimlad

    Arjimlad Tights of Cydonia

    Location:
    South Glos
    'This five-fold increase will stop people getting the legal advice they need in order to bring claims for the compensation they are entitled to in law. People may be tempted to try to bring claims themselves without expert advice.

    'This will clog up the court system creating a David and Goliath situation where people recovering from their injuries act as litigants in person without legal advice – those defending claims can often afford to pay for legal advice. This undermines ordinary people's ability to access justice – especially if defendants refuse to accept liability forcing people to fight through the courts without legal help.

    'Spinning this proposal as an attack on the "compensation culture" and claiming it will reduce premiums is misleading. If you are injured through no fault of your own you should be allowed to claim for that.'

    https://www.lawgazette.co.uk/law/moj-set-to-impose-5k-small-claims-limit/5058818.article
     
  10. Buddfox

    Buddfox Über Member

    Location:
    London
    I have seen some suggestions that combining this with a presumed liability law would have been a neater solution, which on the face of it seems to make sense.
     
    Arjimlad likes this.
  11. srw

    srw AGM 2008, Dykes medal 2011

    Injury lawyers complain that injury lawyers will get less work shocker....

    Small claims for minor injuries don't need special skills to pursue. There's a standard set of tariffs for each kind of injury, it's easy to calculate and evidence lost income and extra expenses. None of that needs legal training - and indeed if you go to a law firm with one of these cases at the moment you won't get someone with legal training, you'll get a harrassed, underpaid paralegal acting as a postbox.

    My best guess is (yes, it's a guess) is that the government's claim that motorists will save £40 a year is over-optimistic, that there will be little change to the amount of compensation (as opposed to legal fees) paid out and that lawyers will find a way to inflate claims as Drago suggests so that they get some money out of them.
     
  12. vickster

    vickster Legendary Member

    Location:
    Sutton
    Very true, in nearly 3 years, I've spoken to a solicitor once and only because I requested it
     
  13. jarlrmai

    jarlrmai Veteran

    In court who will you be claiming from? A large insurance company? Or the driver personally?
     
  14. vickster

    vickster Legendary Member

    Location:
    Sutton
    Me? I don't plan to go to court. I assume the payout comes from the insurance company, the driver will pay through higher premiums
     
  15. Pete Owens

    Pete Owens Well-Known Member

    Spot on - this story originated from a law firm after all:
    https://www.leighday.co.uk/News/New...nments-whiplash-proposals-bad-news-for-cyclis
    and was just repeated verbatim.

    Extending the limit for small claims will make claiming more accessible, easier and less risky. True you can't claim for legal assistance if you win your case - but then the insurers can't claim their legal fees if you lose.