The Ministry of Justice has opened a consultation on reforming the claims process for victims of whiplash.

Our Policy and Research Coordinator Rachel Lee explains what this means for pedestrians and cyclists.

The Ministry of Justice wants to increase the small claims limit for personal injury compensation claims from £1000 to £5000. It says it’s doing this to “crack down on minor, exaggerated and fraudulent soft tissue injury (‘whiplash’) claims stemming from road traffic accidents”.

Apparently this will save the insurance industry around £1bn a year and save motorists an average of £40 on their annual car insurance.

However, pedestrians and cyclists don’t even get a mention. And they would stand to lose out.

Cyclist and pedestrian

This is ridiculous because 13% casualties in all road incidents are pedestrians and 10% are cyclists. It’s also unfair, because it prevents anyone recovering their legal and other costs, such as medical reports, for claims falling below the £5000 threshold.

Children walking

This is why we are supporting Cycling UK’s campaign Road Victims are the Real Victims.

If you are knocked over by a car crossing the road you can still claim compensation, but you may not see much change for your efforts. If you need legal help to present your claim (eg for a child or an older person) it is expensive - you could recover £4000 and pay out £3500 in costs.

Instead of tackling fraudulent claims, the real cost of these proposals will be met by pedestrians and cyclists who end up in casualty with broken limbs because of the negligence of others. Vulnerable road users are the real victims here.

The government should be standing up for walking, not penalising pedestrians.

Support Cycling UK's campaign