What are the whiplash reforms?
The Government have reformed the process for low value road traffic accident-related personal injury claims, commonly referred to as ‘whiplash claims’.
The Civil Liability Act 2018 (the Act) together with supporting regulations, known as the Whiplash Regulations, and changes to the Civil Procedure Rules have brought the biggest change to the personal injury sector in almost a decade.
The provisions of the whiplash reforms apply to accidents which happened on or after 31 May 2021. For any accidents before this date, existing rules and processes will continue to apply.
What do the reforms mean for claimants?
The reforms apply to low value injury claims arising from a road traffic accident, including whiplash. The Act sets out a definition of whiplash and introduces a ban on the settlement of claims without medical evidence.
The Act will also put in place a fixed tariff of damages for pain, suffering and loss of amenity for whiplash injuries lasting up to 2 years in duration.
There will be an increase in the small claims limit for road traffic accident-related personal injury claims from £1,000 to £5,000, which means that unless the value of the claim exceeds this amount, claimants will no longer be able to claim back the cost for legal advice, representation, or support, meaning more claimants will be acting in person.
How to make a whiplash claim
On 1 June 2021, the Official Injury Claims Portal was launched, providing unrepresented claimants with the ability to process their own claims online, including a facility to obtain medical evidence. A new RTA Small Claims Track Pre-Action Protocol has been published to bring all these new measures together, and to set out how the new process for making a claim will work.
Although these changes mean claimants will have the opportunity to settle these small claims online without the need for legal representation, there are concerns that many claimants will feel unable to represent themselves.
Over the next few weeks, we will be adding information on our website on how to deal with low value road traffic accident-related personal injury claims.