The Government have now introduced significant changes into the way in which low value road traffic accidents are processed and compensated.
From 31st May 2021, if you are involved in a road traffic accident and suffer a whiplash type injury to your neck, back or shoulders, you are likely to fall within the new scheme aimed at cutting the number of ‘whiplash’ claims and the so called ‘claim culture’ associated with this.
The Association of British Insurers (ABI) have reported that there were more than 1,500 whiplash claims made in the UK every day, which costs the insurance industry an estimated £2 billion per year.
The tariff system which is now in place significantly restricts the amount of compensation which can now be claimed, fixing the compensation to £240.00 for a three-month injury rising to £4,215.00 for a 2-year injury. This is a substantial reduction on the awards that could be made for accidents prior to 31st May 2021 for those who have suffered genuine injuries through no fault of their own.
The new changes mean that legal representation may not always be available for injuries which are valued at less than £5,000, this being the new small claims limit. Whilst some solicitors will continue to represent Claimant’s by charging a percentage of their compensation, a majority will now need navigate the Governments new ‘Official Injury Claims’ Service, a website designed to guide claimant’s through the claims process and pitting them directly against the large insurance companies.
The Government’s 64 page guide on how to run a claim on the new system has been described as ‘hopelessly complicated’ and ‘legal treacle’ by a top academic leading to further concerns about those who wish to pursue claims themselves.
It must be noted however that these changes only affect accidents which have happened either on or after the 31st May 2021, therefore any existing claim will not be impacted by these reforms. These changes do not apply to accidents at work or public liability cases such as slips, trips or falls.
There are also some exceptions which are excluded from the new rules such as vulnerable road users (pedestrians, cyclists, motorcyclist and children), protected parties, those who have been subject bankruptcy and those who are the personal representative of a deceased person. This is not an exhaustive list and we would encourage you to contact Farleys to determine whether you would fall into one of the many exceptions to benefit from representation where your legal costs would be recoverable.
The changes were intended to be a positive one, as the savings the insurance companies make must be passed on to their customers, and as a result, the Government expects that motorists will save approximately £35 per year on their motor insurance premiums. It may however starve genuinely injured Claimants of proper legal representation and prevent them from obtaining the level of compensation they are entitled to as a result of the accident.
Can I Still Use a Solicitor for Whiplash Claims?
Farleys Solicitors will continue to offer our expertise and represent Claimants in road traffic accidents post 31st May 2021 for a fee of 25% of your compensation upon the successful completion of your claim.
If you or someone have been involved in a road traffic accident, our specialist team at Farleys are on hand to provide advice when you need it. Please call 0845 287 0939 to speak to one of our team or contact us via our website or through the online chat below.