The parliamentary campaign to amend personal injury legislation has begun, with a London MP demanding that certain group be exempted from changes.
Labour MP Catherine West tabled an early day motion calling for so-called vulnerable road users to be left out of reforms brought about by the government’s Civil Liability Bill.
The Ministry of Justice plans, subject to a second reading in the House of Lords this month, will mean fixed tariffs for RTA claims are introduced along with an increase in the small claims limit to £5,000 for these cases.
The effect could be that pedestrians, cyclists, motorcyclists and horseriders would mostly be unrepresented by lawyers as fees for claims under £5,000 will no longer be recoverable.
West, MP for Hornsey and Wood Green, said road users other than people in cars will be ‘swept up’ within the scope of the bill despite rarely if ever making claims for whiplash and there being no evidence of any fraudulent claims by these groups.
She added: ‘I want to see ministers apply common sense when it comes to law making. Cyclists and other VRUs, including children, should be protected on our roads, not punished by the government if they are unfortunate enough to have a non-fault accident.’
The motion itself urges the government to take a ‘pragmatic approach’ and remove vulnerable road users from the bill and so retain their rights to redress.
Campaigners will hope more MPs will be persuaded to challenge elements of the bill as it passes through both houses of parliaments, with hopes also high that MPs on the Commons justice select committee will raise concerns when they report on the personal injury sector.
Andrew Twambley, spokesperson for lobby group Access to Justice, said: ‘We never see VRUs claiming for whiplash because they never sustain these types of injuries in accidents on our roads. Neither is there any evidence that these groups submit fraudulent or frivolous claims, so it is baffling that ministers want to penalise them.’