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Jamie Hailstone is a freelance journalist and author, who has also contributed to numerous national business titles including Utility Week, the Municipal Journal, Environment Journal and consumer titles such as Classic Rock.
September 4, 2018

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Injured Workers

MPs urged to help injured workers get justice

The Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers (Usdaw) has called on MPs to help injured workers get compensation in the small claims court.

shaking-handsTrade union Usdaw is calling on politicians to block government plans to raise the threshold for injury cases taken in the small claims court to £2,000, which it claims will restrict access for many workers who are seeking compensation.

The measure is linked to the Civil Liability Bill, which is due to have its second reading in the House of Commons today (4 September).

Instead, Usdaw has backed the cross-party Justice Select Committee recommendation of a £1,500 limit, which it claims reflects inflation since the limit was last set in 1999.

The trade union said it is deeply concerned that the Government is trivialising serious injuries incurred at work where the employer is at fault, by forcing victims into the small claims court.

“We are asking MPs to support our campaign to stop the Government forcing more injured workers into the small claims court, where the costs of legal representation cannot be recovered from negligent employers,” said General Secretary, Paddy Lillis.

“We want the Government to accept the reasonable and fair compromise of raising the threshold to £1,500.

“Usdaw fears that an increase to £2,000 will not only restrict access to justice, but also have a damaging effect on workplace health and safety.”

In addition, the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers has warned the NHS will be left to pick up the tab for people with catastrophic injuries if Government plans to cut injury compensation go ahead, as part of the Civil Liability Bill.

“The Bill seeks to change how compensation is calculated for people with life-changing injuries, such as brain or spinal damage,” said Association President, Brett Dixon.

“The upshot is that people will almost certainly receive less compensation and will have to make risky investments with it to try to make it stretch for the rest of their lives. There is every likelihood that the funding will run out, leaving people to rely on the NHS for their care,” added Mr Dixon.

“Many of those who support this legislation believe it will reduce the NHS’s own compensation bill. But the cost falls back on the NHS anyway when people run out of the compensation which is supposed to pay for their care.

“The big difference is that if the Civil Liability Bill goes ahead, the NHS will not only have to pay for its own negligence but for everyone else’s as well. That includes employers who cause serious injuries at work, or negligent drivers who cause life-changing injuries to other motorists. It’s absolutely right that the NHS should pay for its own negligence, but not for everyone else’s as well.”

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