IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT WHIPLASH REFORMS
Date online: 01/06/2021
Low value road traffic accidents which occur on or after 31st May 2021 will be dealt with entirely differently than ever before.
A new Small Claims Track RTA protocol will apply where a whiplash injury, lasting up to two years and other types of injuries valued up to £5,000.00, are claimed and where the total value of injuries and financial losses/repair costs (exclusive of credit hire) does not exceed £10,000.00.
Claims that fall into this category will be dealt with in the Small Claims Court and legal costs will not recoverable from the Defendant.
Official Injury Claim https://www.officialinjuryclaim.org.uk/ will be the new service for making personal injury claims arising out of road traffic accidents where the injuries are valued under the new RTA small claims threshold of £5,000.00. It is intended to make the personal injury claim process simple, secure and unbiased so anyone can choose to make a claim without the requirement of legal assistance. The service seeks to be easy to use and to enable people who have suffered injuries in a road traffic accident to understand how to make a claim, provide the required information, manage their claim and receive settlement offers. Whether this will be the case remains to be seen and we anticipate that many people will really struggle to deal with their claims without legal assistance, particularly if they are not familiar with the internet.
If Claimants still require legal assistance to make a claim following a road traffic accident, they can still do so, but they will have to pay their legal costs themselves out of their compensation, which could be a percentage of their compensation or a fixed fee.
A new compensation tariff will be introduced for whiplash injuries, the definition of which will be:-
"whiplash injury" means "a sprain, strain, tear or rupture of one or more of the muscles, tendons or ligaments in the neck or back which has been caused by the backward or forward or sideways movement of the neck beyond the limit of its normal range of motion, the effects of which may include, but are not limited to:-
a) Pain in the neck, back, shoulders or arms;
b) Reduced mobility in the neck, back or shoulders;
d) Muscle spasms;
Compensation for other or additional types of injury sustained as a result of the RTA, eg injury to hand or leg will be valued in the traditional way, ie using Judicial College Guidelines and reported past decided cases or by assessment by the Court.
The compensation tariff for whiplash injuries is a fraction of the amount of compensation recoverable for the same whiplash injuries sustained in an RTA prior to 31st May 2021 and will be:-
Duration of injury
Including uplift for minor psychological injury
Not more than 3 months
More than 3 months, but not more than 6months
More than 6 months, but not more than 9months
More than 9 months, but not more than 12months
More than 12 months, but not more than 15months
More than 15 months, but not more than 18months
More than 18 months, but not more than 24months
Some Claimants will be exempt from these new rules and tariffs and will be able to recover compensation in excess of the above whiplash tariff, such as vulnerable road users like pedestrians, cyclists, motor cyclists, passengers on motor cycles, wheelchair or mobility users and horse riders and, even if the value of their claims falls under the new small claims threshold of £5,000.00, they will still be able to recover their legal costs.
Children and protected parties’ claims will still be subject to the tariff, if they are a passenger in a car, but will be able to recover fixed legal costs on top of their compensation, if solicitors are instructed to act on their behalf.
If you are unfortunate enough to be involved in a road traffic accident after 31st May 2021 and have been injured, Molesworths Bright Clegg may still be able to assist you with making a claim for compensation. If you have severe symptoms of whiplash, and/or non whiplash injuries, or if you are a vulnerable road user, wish to make a claim on behalf of a child or protected party or if you want to enquire whether you fall into any of the other exempt categories, please do not hesitate to telephone our personal injury team for a, without obligation, chat.
The contents of this article are intended for general information purposes only and shall not be deemed to be, or constitute legal advice. We cannot accept responsibility for any loss as a result of acts or omissions taken in respect of this article.