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'Whiplash' in the News

Wednesday 01st March, 2017

The Government has proposed big changes for victims of Road Traffic Accidents, although, it would seem that the plans have gone largely unreported.  The Government plans to raise the small claims limit to £5,000 for road traffic accidents and to £2,000 for other personal injury claims.  There will also be a fixed tariff of awards for ‘whiplash’ injuries.

It is surprising that the plans have received little media coverage given the potential impact of the plans.  In short, if you are hurt in an accident on the road, you will be required to bring your claim in the small claims court, with no provision for recovering the cost of legal representation. You will be dealing directly with multinational insurance companies and are likely to be left with compensation falling far short of the awards that the Courts currently consider to be appropriate.

By way of example for a ‘whiplash’ injury lasting between 4 – 6 months the current average award is in the region of £2,150, the Government now proposes an award of £450.  Perhaps most striking is the removal of any additional compensation for minor psychological injuries.

The Government expects the reforms to be implemented in full on 1st October 2018.  The Ministry of Justice has also said that it expects car insurance premiums to be cut by around £40 a year as a result of these reforms.  Although there is no provision for monitoring this.

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