Another attack on access to justice for workers injured at work
20 January 2017
By Hazards Campaign
An update from the Hazards Campaign and Philip Liptrot of Thompsons Solicitors regarding the Small Claims Limit proposals.
Phil Liptrot from Thompsons Solicitors spoke about the major campaign that has been launched to challenge the Government’s plan to increase the small claims limit.
He said that the proposed change will prevent 80% of injured workers from instructing a lawyer to enable them to get compensation for workplace injuries and the consequence is that the employer will be able to make their workplaces even more dangerous. At the moment there is a £1, 000 limit.
Phil explained that claims are in two parts: general damages which include pain and suffering and special damages which include financial loss like loss of wages etc.
At the moment, if the general damages are greater than £1,000 then the individual is able to claim their lawyer fees back from the other side. Phil also reported that 99% of cases are greater than £1,000.
The Government proposal is to increase the limit to £5,000. 80% of all cases are less than £5,000 and will result in individuals not getting any compensation when they are injured by their job. Even where the total claim would be much greater than £5,000 because of things like loss of wages, they still won’t be able to claim because their general damages are below the £5,000 threshold. General damages are determined from a prescribed list of financial compensation for a particular condition/injury.
Individuals will have to make a decision to pay up front (if they can afford to) and then pay the lawyer out of the total if they are successful. It means that some of these ‘fat cat’ insurers will get even ‘fatter’ at the expense of worker’s health and safety. It was also reported that some asbestosis claims may fall into this category.
Please circulate this information and communicate it widely amongst trade union contacts.
Please encourage as many people as possible to sign the online petition: 100,000 signatures are needed on the petition, to initiate a debate in the House of Commons, so it was agreed to support this.
Write to MPs, urging them to oppose the changes