The small claims court limit for the types of claim our site is concerned with, is £10,000. The limit for injury claims, is however, going to increase considerably and soon.
Small Claims Court Limit In Non Personal Injury Claims
In April 2013, the court raised the small claims limit for claims (other than personal injury claims) from £5,000 to £10,000. That is the main reason we set up this website, to help those who have claims of a value up to £10,000.
The government suggested this could be raised up to £15,000 in the future. We hope not.
Small Claims Court Limit in Personal Injury Claims
Around the time the time the general small claims limit was increased, the government considered whether the limit for personal injury claims ought to be increased too. Our website does not currently deal with personal injury claims but it is important for us to report that the small claims court limit for personal injury claims is going to increase, creating a great deal of controversy and uncertainty.
As part of the huge changes made to the civil court system in 2013, it was proposed that the small claims limit for personal injury claims would be increased from £1,000 to £5,000. On 23 October 2013, the government confirmed that it no longer intended to make the increase.
That has changed. It is now proposed that by April 2019 the small claims limit for road traffic accident personal injury claims will be increased to £5,000. For other types of personal injury claims, such as accidents at work, the small claims limit will be increased to £2,000.
Personal injury solicitors and their clients, have already taken a hammering by the changes in rules on “no win – no fee” agreements and the insurance policies that were usually taken out. This announcement is a further blow and strengthens the position of insurers defending claims considerably.
If the changes are made, and it looks certain they will be, it will mean that claimants with RTA claims of a value up to £5,000, will be unable to recover their legal costs from the other side, even if there case were successful at trial. This means insurers will be under less pressure to settle claims and people who might not be able to afford using a solicitor, might not bring the claim at all. It will be possible for solicitors to act for clients and take a cut of the damages awarded but that means the client isn’t receiving the full sum the court decides they are entitled to and the margins involved mean it will likely not be attractive for solicitors to take on such cases.
So What Does This Mean?
Because insurers responding to personal injury claims are no longer facing the same level of costs, they should be able to pass on those savings to the policyholders. The previous Justice Secretary Chris Grayling stated that insurance premiums have already come down by an average of £80, since the reforms came in place in April 2013. That trend should continue. However, as the current actions of the energy suppliers show, if they collectively decide to put prices up, or collectively they don’t want to pass savings on, there isn’t a great deal the man on the street can do.
The courts are going to see a lot more people bringing injury claims without lawyers involved.