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How an increase in the small claims limit will affect your access to compensation

Solicitors in London

News article published on: 20th June 2013

Osbornes settled a case for a young woman who we shall call Miss B.  Her hair was damaged in a beauty salon.

Our client had long beautiful hair prior to the accident and after her treatment, although most of her hair was fine, she was left with a small patch of hair on the top of her head that was only 1 cm long and stuck straight upwards. This made her feel self- conscious and depressed as she had been used to her hair being her ‘crowning glory’.

In addition to this, when she made a complaint to the salon it was not dealt with a professional attitude but was she met with intimidation and threats. Understandably, she did not feel able to pursue the matter herself and she instructed Osbornes to help her.

It emerged that the salon was not insured however, they instructed solicitors and we dealt with them to resolve the claim. The matter settled prior to the instruction of a medical expert. The salon made an offer of £1,000 which we negotiated up to £1,500.

Miss B’s hair grew back as normal and the case settled for about the right sum, but the humiliation that our client has experienced could not be ameliorated with compensation.

In this case, it was a good job that her injury was not worse as there is doubt as to whether an uninsured Defendant would have had the funds to pay out compensation on a case where the damage was severe.

What is also of concern is that the Government wants to increase the small claims limit.

What this means is that claimants in the ‘Small Claims Court’ (in which the limit for PI claims is currently £1000) are expected to bring claims without the assistance of a solicitor. For claims worth less than £1000solicitors cannot claim costs from the Defendant. If the limit for small claims is increased it will mean that those who have suffered an injury like Miss B, will find it difficult to access representation from expert solicitors and they will then have to deal directly with those who have caused such injuries in the first place.

If this had been the case here it is unlikely that Miss B would have had the confidence to take this forward herself, especially in light of the intimidation she experienced from the salon owners. Miss B needed support and a guiding hand – not to mention the advice from us with regards to what the claim was worth.

So the lesson for us consumers is to ensure that the salon we use has a decent insurance policy in place. You never know when you might need it!

And while you are at it  write to your MP in opposition of the proposed changes as an increase.

If you have suffered an injury as a result of a beauty treatment or aftercosmetic surgery treatment contact us for a strictly confidential conversation on whether you are eligible to make a compensation claim.

To contact us you can call us or fill in our online enquiry form.

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