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Whiplash Claims Reforms and Access to Justice

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What Are the Whiplash Claims Reforms?

The Civil Liability Act 2018 (CLA 2018), was introduced in December 2018 and is set to bring huge changes to the personal injury market, especially for personal injury lawyers dealing with RTA Personal Injury Claims. These new changes will include the introduction of whiplash claims reforms. Concerns have been raised regarding the introduction of these whiplash reform measures and access to justice for victims sustaining whiplash injuries in Road Traffic Accidents (RTA).

The whiplash claims reforms are new measures which have been introduced by the UK Government to change how whiplash claims are handled in England and Wales. The reasons for the introduction of these reforms were to reduce the amount of compensation paid out by the insurance industry, especially for those fraudulently claiming compensation, and to reduce the costs of motor insurance for ordinary motorists.

The whiplash Reforms Programme will bring a number of changes to the way in which those suffering from whiplash injuries will be able to claim compensation.

How Are Whiplash Claims Currently Handled?

RTA Whiplash Claims currently fall under the Pre-Action Protocol for Low Value Personal Injury Claims in Road Traffic Accidents and are governed by the Civil Procedure Rules. All claims are submitted on the Ministry of Justice (MOJ) Claims portal, with offers to settle also being submitted to the Portal.

Whiplash Claims After the Reforms

There are a number of changes due to be introduced following the enforcement of the whiplash claims reforms, including:

  • A fixed tariff of compensation awarded by the Courts for general damages (pain, suffering and loss of amenity) for whiplash injuries sustained as a result of a road traffic accident.
  • A new ban on claims being settled without medical evidence, to include an assessment and medical report.
  • The Small Claims Track limit will be raised to £5,000, which will remove the ability for Claimants to recover any legal costs for RTA whiplash claims.

When are the Whiplash Claims Reforms Due to Come into Force?

The whiplash claims reforms were initially planned for April 2019; however, there have some delays since this date. They were delayed until April 2020 and were delayed again until August 2020. Since the outbreak of Coronavirus this year, plans to introduce the new reforms have again been delayed until April 2021.

How Will The Reforms Prevent Access to Justice?

These new reforms will mean that many victims of road traffic accidents sustaining whiplash injuries will not be entitled to claim a substantial amount of compensation for their injuries due to the caps placed on compensation awards. The new tariffs mean that for an injury which is currently awarded an average of £1,800, this amount could drop to around £275 after the whiplash claims reforms come into play.

Furthermore, most victims sustaining these types pf injuries will be required to make their claims on an online claims portal set up by the Motor Insurance Bureau. As legal costs will no longer be recoverable by the Claimant, most will be force to pursue their claims without legal representation. They will be required to arrange their own medical expert appointments, pay their own disbursements if the claim is unsuccessful and accept or reject settlement offers in the absence of any legal advice.

How Can Beacon Law Assist?

Beacon Law can assist you in making your claim for a whiplash injury before the whiplash claims reforms come into force next year. We are specialist Personal Injury and Road Traffic Accident Solicitors with a wealth of experience in dealing with all types of RTA claims. We can provide you with specialist legal advice on making a claim and guide you through the process, whilst negotiating the best settlement for your accident and injuries.

For a free, no-obligation assessment of your claim call one of our specialist personal injury lawyers today on 0330 1332 857 or complete our online enquiry form and one of our experts will call you back.

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