David McWilliam

Partner, Solicitor and Head of Personal Injury & Sports Law

DATE PUBLISHED: 11 Jan 2017 LAST UPDATED: 22 Mar 2021

6000 cyclists oppose whiplash reforms

Leading cycle accident specialist, David McWilliam, Partner and Head of Personal Injury at Ellis Jones solicitors has backed the 6000 cyclists that have written to the Justice Secretary, Elizabeth Truss to raise their valid concerns over the proposed changes to compensation rules which will make it extremely difficult for cyclists to recover compensation for injuries sustained in accidents that are not their fault.

On 6th January 2017, the Consultation process closed for the Government’s proposal to increase the small claims limit from £1000 to £5000 and ban whiplash claims. This is an attempt to reduce the number of whiplash claims.

Injured cyclists with a claim under £5000 would not be able to use a solicitor to deal with their claim and would have to deal direct with huge insurance companies. The public do not know how to deal with these claims and should have the right to instruct a specialist to deal with their claim.

The reforms are being pushed by the insurance industry to reduce the amount of claims. This is just wrong and unjust.

The number of claims has fallen by 41% since 2010/2011 – this statistic is from the DWP’s Compensation Recovery Unit are the most accurate and show that the number of claims is falling and not increasing as the insurance industry and press promote.

Cycling bodies estimate that the proposed reforms would affect up to 70% of cycling claims. If a car pulls out of a junction into a cyclist’s path, you are going to be injured and your bike damaged. It will be down to the cyclist to try and deal with the insurers direct. How will they know how to recover an interim payment for the damage to the bike or a replacement bike, get physiotherapy without having to pay for this treatment, calculate loss of earnings, and value an injury claim. The simple answer is that they will have no idea and will be at the mercy of the insurers who will try and under settle claims in order to save money.

I have dealt with many cycling claims that have been disputed and after issuing court proceedings, the claims have settled. A cyclist who has no knowledge of the claims system will simply not know what to do. One example was a cyclist who came off his bike as result of hitting a pothole in the road. He sustained a fracture to his wrist. The Council denied liability and court proceedings were issued. Just weeks before trial, the Council’s solicitors settled the claim for £4500.

The results from the consultation are likely to be published in April 2017.

If you have any queries or have been injured in a cycling accident that was not your fault, telephone David McWilliam at Ellis Jones on 01202 057710 or e-mail him on david.mcwilliam@ellisjones.co.uk

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