Whiplash Claims – Wading Through Treacle

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The Government is making changes to the claims process for what is referred to as “whiplash” claims.

These changes come into effect on 31st May 2021.

They include the imposition of a fixed tariff for compensation for the pain, suffering and loss of amenity caused by a whiplash injury which lasts up to two years.  This means that the amount of compensation received is fixed in accordance with a sliding scale from £240 to £4,215 depending on the duration of the injury. If you have also suffered a psychological injury then you can get between an extra £20 to £130.

In addition, the small claims limit for personal injury claims arising from a road traffic accident is increasing from £1,000 to £5,000. In small claims matters you are not ordinarily entitled to recover your legal costs from the other side.

The Government’s intention is that someone with a whiplash injury will not seek help and advice from a solicitor but will deal with the claim themselves by submitting it through a new online portal – the Official Injury Claim portal.

To help anyone trying to deal with their own claim the Government has published a 64-page guide to the procedure which has been described as “legal treacle” by Matthew Maxwell Scott executive director of the Association of Consumer Support Organisations. In his opinion “It will confuse all but the most legally savvy claimants …”

Claimants are also directed to the Judicial College Guidelines as a way of trying to work out how much their injury claim is worth if, as well as whiplash, they have another injury.

If agreement with the other driver’s insurers cannot be reached the guide says you should also read the 8-page Guide to Practice Direction 27B in preparation for bringing court proceedings.

As well as all that reading any claimant will also have to get up to speed with all the acronyms.  RTA is fairly obvious, but JCG, CUE, MIB DME and MRO?

It is undeniable that bringing any kind of claim for a personal injury is a difficult task.  The law and procedure related to such claims is very complex.

If you have time on your hands and want to go it alone, I wish you good luck, but if you would rather someone experienced in dealing with such claims dealt with it for you please contact Moira Mortimer, Bendles’ Personal Injury Specialist.

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Written by Moira Mortimer, Associate

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