10 March 2022

Whiplash reforms on minor road accident claims

Before May 31st 2021, should you have been involved in an accident and suffered a whiplash injury that lasted for 12 months as a result, under the previous guidelines you could have received compensation of up to £4,080.

Now due to the whiplash reforms that came into force on that date under the new tariff, that same claimant would receive a fixed amount of £1,320 for the same injury.

What kind of road traffic accident claims are unaffected by the whiplash reforms?

These reforms significantly affect your ability to recover compensation for injuries suffered in road traffic accidents (RTAs). However, there are some exceptions to the new rules.

After concerns were raised during the consultation process about vulnerable road users, it was decided that the following categories of road users would not be affected by the changes:

  • A child under the age of 18

  • Using a motorcycle or a pillion passenger on, or a passenger in a side car attached to, a motorcycle

  • Using a wheelchair, a powered wheelchair or a mobility scooter

  • Using a bicycle or other pedal cycle

  • Riding a horse

  • A pedestrian

To put this into context, if you’re driving and through no fault of your own, you’re involved in a road traffic accident that results in whiplash injuries for up to 12 months, you could receive £1,320 for your pain and suffering. But, should your friend also be involved in a road traffic accident while riding their bike, and suffers the exact same injury, they could receive up to 209% more compensation.

Can I still recover my legal costs for pursuing a road traffic accident claim?

The small claims track limit has been increased from £1,000 to £5,000 for road traffic accidents. Therefore, you as 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 no longer have access to independent legal advice on a claim unless they pay for it out of their own pocket.

How much compensation could I receive for whiplash previously?

Before the reforms, minor road accident claims were valued using previous similar cases and the ‘Judicial College Guidelines for the Assessment of Damages’ which are updated every few years.

Now that the government has implemented a tariff system for RTA’s where claimants receive a set amount of compensation based entirely on the duration of their injury (up to a duration of two years), there’s a significant reduction in compensation available to claimants. As well as making it harder to get independent legal advice.

How do I make a claim for whiplash under the reforms?

Should your injury claim be less than £5,000, there is a new online whiplash portal which allows you to submit claims directly to an insurer.

However, there are concerns that insurers are either denying liability or making very low offers. It is then difficult for a claimant to understand how best to proceed without legal advice. The government initially proposed a free alternative dispute resolution service (ADR) to assist claimants, however ultimately this was not implemented.

Speak to our road traffic accident expert

If you require any further information regarding these reforms or for any other personal injury queries please contact Nick Shaw. You can also contact our personal injury department for queries using our freephone accident claims helpline on 0800 183 8483.

Nick Shaw, Wilkin Chapman LLP
Need help?

Contact Nick to discuss this further.

Back to top