Government should exclude workplace injuries from the small claims limit increase, says Usdaw
A broad coalition will today come together in Parliament to discuss a call on the government to step back from pushing more workplace injury cases through the small claims court process.
Usdaw general secretary Paddy Lillis will chair the meeting, with speakers including Richard Miller (Head of Justice at The Law Society), James Dalton (Director of the Association of British Insurers), Lawrence Waterman OBE (Chairman of the British Safety Council) and Gerard Stilliard (Thompsons Solicitors).
The Civil Liability Act 2018 reformed whiplash claims and is now being implemented. The government also proposes to change the rules for employer liability personal injury cases, by doubling the threshold for the small claims court. This proposal is opposed by the Association of British Insurers, trade unions, personal injury solicitors, the British Safety Council, The Law Society and the Justice Select Committee.
Paddy Lillis said: “Employees injured at work need legal representation to help ensure that those responsible are held to account and that health and safety standards in the workplace are maintained. We remain concerned that the government is still considering moving a significant number of these cases into the small claims court where legal costs cannot be recovered, forcing injured employees to represent themselves in a complex legal process without adequate advice and support.
“Doubling the small claims limit for employer liability cases is unnecessary, unjustified and will restrict access to justice for thousands of genuinely injured employees who have sustained injury through no fault of their own. It also places unnecessary strains on an already over-burdened justice system by increasing the number of unrepresented claimants and will increase the unwelcome activities of claims management companies. We are also concerned about the inevitable erosion of workplace health and safety standards if injured workers are not able to seek legal redress.
“The government has already rightly excluded vulnerable road users such as pedestrians, horse riders, motorcyclists and cyclists from the proposed increase as well as children and protected adults. The employment relationship and the evidential complexity of cases mean that injured employees are also vulnerable claimants and should therefore also be excluded.”
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