A claim is classified as a ‘small claim’ by the courts if the value of your non-injury losses and expenses is £10,000 or less, or if the value of your injuries is £1,000 or less. The value of your injuries is decided by how long you are predicted to suffer from them by a doctor (or if you have already recovered, how long they lasted), which means that we have to obtain a medical report saying how long they have lasted and how long the symptoms are likely to last. However, the way in which your claim is dealt with (and what you can claim for) is different in each case. Although the small claims limit for injuries is set to change from 31st May 2021, from £1,000.00 up to £5,000.00, these changes affect only certain occupants of motor vehicles, where their injuries consist of whiplash and/or minor psychological harm, as fixed tariffs of award for those types of injury are being introduced. The small claims limit is not being increased for accidents involving “vulnerable” persons, such as children, pedestrians and two wheeled road users, such as cyclists, motorcycle riders and pillion passengers. Also, they, will not be subject to the fixed compensation tariffs when they are introduced.
Although every type of injury is different, if your symptoms have lasted, or are likely to last, less than 4 weeks, then your injury claim will probably be a small claim. However, if they last longer than this (even if they seem minor), then your claim may not be a small claim.
Unfortunately, it does not matter how serious your injuries could have been: it is the actual injuries that you have suffered which determines the value of your claim.
How this affects your claim
In cases where injuries are valued at over £1,000, or if the value of your non-injury losses/expenses exceeds £10,000, if you win, the other party has to pay a contribution towards your legal costs.
However, for injury claims worth less than £1,000, then you are only entitled to recover limited legal fees for pursuing your claim. The figure is usually a maximum of £80. This would not cover the usual costs of us representing you and any amount of our fees over this amount would have to be paid by you out of your compensation.
As most personal injury claims will cost in excess of £700 to pursue (because the other party’s insurer will rarely admit liability and simply pay out with no questions), in most cases this would mean that you would have to pay out most, if not all, of your compensation in legal fees.
In some cases, if liability has been admitted or your case is straightforward (and thus we can keep the legal fees within a lower range), then we can agree to handle your claim for a fixed amount, so that you know how much will be deducted from your compensation and decide whether it is worth while us acting for you.
Please contact us for further information.