05 May 2020

Whiplash reforms delay gives personal injury sector time to adjust

Nick Shaw Senior Solicitor

Personal injury businesses have further time to consider impacts of far-reaching reforms that affect people’s ability to claim compensation

With the Government’s intended Whiplash Reforms delayed until April 2021, the personal injury sector has been given more time to adjust to what are far-reaching reforms. –that affect a claimant’s ability to recover compensation arising from road traffic accidents.

Part 1 of The Civil Liability Act 2018 proposed various reforms to the personal injury sector including:

  • Small Claims Track Limit increasing from £1,000 to £5,000 for Road Traffic Accidents (RTA) A Claimant cannot recover legal fees for claims that fall within the Small Claims Track. By increasing the limit by 400%, thousands of victims of RTAs won’t have access to independent legal advice on a claim – and anyone who does will have to pay for it out of their own compensation.

  • A tariff system for all whiplash claims lasting up to two years These claims are currently valued using previous similar cases and the Judicial College Guidelines for the Assessment of Damages, updated every few years. The Government intends to implement a tariff system where claimants receive a set amount of compensation based entirely on the duration of their injury. Using a 12-month whiplash injury as an example, the current guidelines allow a claimant to receive up to £4,080. Under the proposed tariff, that same claimant would receive in the region of £1,250 for the same injury. These reforms will result in a significant reduction in compensation available to claimants, as well as making it harder to get independent legal advice.

  • A new online portal to deal with claims under £5,000 This portal is for claimants to submit their claims directly to an insurer. This raises concerns that insurers will either deny liability or make very low offers. It would then be very difficult for a claimant to understand how best to proceed. The usual option would be to get their own legal advice but the reforms mean this will not always be possible. The Government initially proposed a free Alternative Dispute Resolution Service to assist claimants. Unfortunately this has been scrapped, leaving claimants in a vulnerable position and the new portal open to abuse from the insurers.

Opposed to reforms

These reforms will significantly affect a claimant’s ability to recover compensation for injuries suffered in Road Traffic Accidents. They could disproportionately affect vulnerable claimants who might find themselves unable to access legal advice.

As a firm, we’re opposed to the reforms and will continue to lobby the Government to reconsider the changes and to add extra protections for vulnerable claimants.

Just ask

We’re here for you. If you need more information about the reforms – or any other personal injury matter – please contact Nick Shaw on 01522 515 964 or email nick.shaw@wilkinchapman.co.uk

You can also contact our Personal Injury Department using our freephone Accident Claims Helpline on 0800 183 8483.

Any questions?

Contact Nick at nick.shaw@wilkinchapman.co.uk to discuss

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