The British Cycling Federation has raised concerns that compensation reforms being considered by the government will affect injury claims for cyclists.
In November, Elizabeth Truss – the Secretary of State for Justice and Lord Chancellor – announced the government was considering reforms in order to address the perceived compensation culture in the UK. One of the reforms under consideration is the raising of the “small claims” limit from £1,000 to £5,000.
The implication of raising the limit is that claimants making a personal injury claim for less than £5,000 will not be able to recover their legal costs. The measure is intended to “crack down on minor, exaggerated and fraudulent [personal injury] claims”. However, several organisations have voiced their concerns that the raising of the limit will prevent access to justice for genuine claimants.
One such organization is the British Cycling Federation. The Federation represents more than 100,000 cyclists in the UK, and it has produced figures showing that the majority of injury claims for cyclists fall within the proposed £5,000 limit. The Federation fears its members will lose their entitlement to legal representation and not pursue the injury compensation they are entitled to.
Martin Key – the Campaigns Manager for the British Cycling Federation – said: “The vast majority of injuries sustained in cycling incidents are valued at under the proposed £5,000 limit, meaning that – under the new proposals – any cyclist involved in an incident would find it very difficult to get legal representation and therefore to be adequately compensated for their injuries.”
The Federation is also unhappy that the consultation process has a January 6th deadline. According to Mr Key there is insufficient time (with the Christmas and New Year holidays falling just prior to the deadline) for raising all the issues that affect injury claims for cyclists. Nonetheless, Mr Key is confident that the Federation will submit a response before the deadline, and ask the Ministry of Justice to re-think both the proposed reforms and the consultation deadline.