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07 Jun 2021

Personal Injury

Whiplash Reforms: What are they and how might they affect you?

On the 31 May 2021 the government introduced changes to how some road traffic accident injury claims are handled.

Victoria Hands, a Chartered Legal Executive in our Personal Injury department, takes a look at the changes and what they mean to those looking to make a claim going forward.

When did the changes come into effect and how do they apply?

The Whiplash Reforms came into effect on 31 May 2021 within England and Wales for lower-value injury claims from Road Traffic Accidents (RTA). Whilst these reforms apply to motorists they don’t apply to other road users, such as pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists or vulnerable road users, such as those under 18. The reforms also don’t apply to those who were inured prior to 31 May 2021, meaning anyone with an existing claim doesn’t need to worry about these changes.

What has changed?

Key changes that have been introduced include;

  • A new digital portal has been launched to make a claim for any road traffic related personal injury valued at £5,000 or less meaning claimants can settle their own claim if they wish.
  • Increasing the small claims track limit for road traffic accident-related personal injury claims from £1,000 to £5,000
  • A new fixed tariff of compensation for whiplash injuries which sets out how much can be claimed for an injury, depending on how long it has impacted the claimant
  • A ban on the practice of seeking to settle whiplash claims without obtaining medical evidence.

Why have the changes occurred?

The government has brought in these Whiplash Reforms in an attempt to reduce the number and cost of minor, exaggerated and fraudulent Road Traffic Accident claims; benefiting ordinary motorists by reducing insurance premiums. Insurers have vowed that the savings made on ‘whiplash’ cases will allow them to reduce motor insurance premiums by an average of £35 per policy.

Can I still claim compensation?

In short. Yes. The reforms don’t prevent people from making a genuine compensation claim, although the way in which you claim may have changed.

The reforms include a new user-friendly online portal for claims under £5,000 and introduce a ban on settling whiplash cases without medical evidence – a practice that previously opened the door to fraudulent claims.

For those people whose accident happened before 31st May 2021, vulnerable road users, protected parties or if your injury is valued at over £5,000 then you can continue to claim using the services of a solicitor.

For more information on which steps you should take to bring a claim please visit our RTA page.

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