On 11th January 2021, the Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice announced that the imminent Whiplash Reform Programme will be put back a month and implemented in May 2021 as opposed to April 2021 in a bid to further support businesses in their preparation for changes in the law.
What does this mean for Claimants?
At present, if you have been injured in a road traffic accident you may pursue a claim through the online claims portal or the County Court if your claim is worth more than £1,000.
From May 2021, this will increase to £5,000, meaning that if your road traffic accident claim is worth less than £5,000, you will only have access to the Small Claims Court where you cannot claim back legal costs for your Solicitor. Therefore, you will need to pay for legal representation when making such claims, or represent yourself.
In introducing these changes in the law, the government stated that their aim is to tackle whiplash fraud, effectively facilitating savings for motorists as insurance premiums will then decrease. Accordingly, this change will not apply to pedestrians, cyclists, motorcyclists and horse riders involved in road traffic accidents.
For all other personal injury claims, such as accidents at work or in public, the limit is increasing from £1,000 to £2,000.
This means that many claimants may be left in the difficult position of either facing legal fees which may exceed the level of compensation awarded and would be due whether or not a claim is successful, or representing themselves while trying to navigate complex legal procedures, medical terminology and settlement negotiations.
If you have suffered a personal injury, whether at work, in a road traffic accident or otherwise, we can help.
If your claim is likely to be in the £1,000 – £5,000 region we would recommend you contact us as soon as possible so we can seek to progress the matter ahead of the changes. Whilst the implementation of this reform has been delayed, it is coming and though it is being implemented with the best of intentions to reduce fraudulent whiplash claims, it will affect your genuine claim and time is of the essence if you wish to avoid this.