DAS believes that the whiplash recommendations by the Transport Select Committee demonstrate a clear understanding that whiplash must not be trivialised and genuine claimants should not have barriers to receiving legal representation.
Rejecting the Ministry of Justice recommendation to raise the threshold for cases dealt with in the small claims court from £1,000 to £5,000, would – as the Committee rightly pointed out – not only limit access to justice, but would also lead to a claimant facing the prospect of having to run a substantial claim themselves against defendants that may well have legal support. They may also be doing so after sustaining a serious personal injury, especially given £5,000 can equate to injuries such as serious fractures and facial scarring.
Whenever whiplash is mentioned, the focus is almost never on the innocent victims but always on fraud. Whilst DAS fully supports measures to combat fraud, and have long campaigned that this must not be detrimental to innocent victims, many of whom suffer life changing conditions. The recommendations by the Transport Select Committee demonstrate their overarching concern that these victims must have access to justice, and DAS are in total agreement with their recommendation not support the Government’s current proposals to raise the small claims limit.