The long awaited whiplash reform programme is to come into force on 31 May 2021. This is the third time the reforms have been delayed as the reforms were initially proposed in 2015 and form part of The Civil Liability Act 2018.
What is ‘whiplash’?
A ‘whiplash injury’ is defined as an injury or injuries of soft tissue in the neck, back or shoulder suffered in the course of a road traffic accident.
What are the reforms?
The reforms look to introduce changes to the personal injury claims process in relation to whiplash injuries sustained in a road traffic accident on or after 31 May 2021.
These reforms only apply to individuals who have suffered a whiplash injury in a road traffic accident, and are not applicable if any other type of injury has been caused in a road traffic accident.
Individuals who have sustained whiplash injuries will have the possibility of bringing a personal injury claim without requiring any legal assistance. Should they still wish to seek legal advice, they would no longer be able to recover the cost of doing so from the insurers of the at fault driver.
The reforms introduce a new whiplash claims portal (the Service) which will allow the injured person to lodge their own claim electronically. This Service will be accessible to anyone looking to make a low-value personal injury claim of up to £5,000. As a rule of thumb, this means that any whiplash injuries lasting for a period of up to 2 years will fall under these new rules.
The reforms introduce a fixed tariff when valuing the individual’s whiplash injuries as a result of a road traffic accident. It will still be possible to claim for any financial losses incurred as a consequence of the accident, such as loss of earnings, travel expenses and any time which a friend or family member has spent assisting the injured person with tasks they would not otherwise have required assistance with.
Finally, and importantly, the reforms will also see a ban on making or accepting offers to settle a whiplash claim without obtaining a medical report first. This is a welcome change as it will ensure that all whiplash claims are properly investigated prior to settlement being reached.
Personal Injury firms have raised concerns about these reforms, as injured parties will now have to represent themselves at what is an already stressful time.
Contact us today to commence your outstanding personal injury claim in order to ensure you receive the compensation you deserve.