Changes in personal injury (PI) legislation mean that 80 per cent of road traffic accident (RTA) cases will be heard in the small claims court, research has suggested.
The small claims limit for RTA claims is expected to rise from £1,000 to £5,000 in the Civil Liability Bill, announced prior to June’s general election. However, the Ministry of Justice has yet to confirm this following the cabinet reshuffle.
The figure is based on evidence which shows that 80 per cent of RTA claims settled by solicitors over the past year were for less than £5,000.
Lobbying group Access to Justice, which published the research, looked at 58 law firms, which between them settled 171,939 of the total 780,324 RTA claims in 2016.
It found that 80 per cent of those cases were settled for less than £5,000, with an average value of general damages of £3,029.
Access to Justice also found that nearly 90 per cent of disbursements paid out by firms in RTA claims were incurred on those that settled for less than £5,000, with the average gross disbursement at £624.
A2J spokesman Andrew Twambley said raising the limit to £5,000 would “open up the floodgates to the injured public being targeted by an increase in unqualified” cold callers.
He has urged the new justice secretary David Lidington to take a “fresh look at the issue”.