From the 31st May new whiplash reforms came into legislation.
WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?
Historically, the limit for the Small Claims Track (the route to bring low value claims to court) was £1,000. The reforms will increase this limit to £5,000. This will mean that if a person hires a legal representative to make a bodily injury claim below £5,000, their legal fees will not be recoverable from the compensating insurer. Claims for minors, protected parties and vulnerable road users will be exempt.
WHIPLASH COMPENSATION TARIFFS
The reforms will also introduce two new tariffs of fixed compensation for “whiplash” type injuries with a recovery period of up to two years (subject to certain exclusions). These tariffs are applicable to pure “whiplash” and “whiplash including minor and psychological injuries”.
The new legislation introduces a ban on offering to settle, or settling claims without obtaining appropriate medical evidence for injuries falling within the definition of “whiplash”,
HOW DOES THIS AFFECT ME?
The main change that will impact you will be the time frame for making liability decisions and the possibility for a driver’s statement.
What is it all about?
A package of measures introduced by the Government to reform the way low-value third-party personal injury claims, arising from road-traffic accidents (RTA), are managed.
Aiming to combat the growing compensation culture, reduce fraud and opportunistic claims, and ensure any savings for the insurance industry are passed to consumers through reduced premiums
It is designed to “reduce insurance costs for ordinary motorists by tackling the continuing high number and cost of whiplash claims.
New fixed tariffs of damages for whiplash with injury prognosis up to 2 years have been introduced. For these claims, the whiplash definition is soft tissue injury to neck, back or shoulder. There is no minimum period – a claim could be made for symptoms lasting one day.
Exceptional uplift of up to 20% of tariff figure can be awarded if an injury was exceptionally severe or where there are exceptional circumstances that have had an impact on PSLA.
But the settlements will not include additional minor physical injuries that can occur alongside whiplash – these will be subject to separate awards but excludes pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclist.
As part of the reforms, the amount of compensation a claimant can receive is determined by the medical reports they submit to the OIC Portal. The compensation is split into Lower and Upper tariffs depending on whether there are any psychological issues as a result of the road traffic accident that caused the whiplash injuries.
Lower Tariff: Whiplash with no provable psychological issue.
Upper Tariff: Whiplash with provable minor psychological issues.