New Whiplash claims system expected to deliver significant savings
The Government has introduced new regulations to deal with the estimated 600,000 “whiplash” personal injury claims each year caused by road traffic accidents (RTA).
The reforms introduce set tariffs for this type of injury and a higher tariff for whiplash accompanied by minor psychological damage.
The Ministry of Justice (MOJ) says insurers have promised to pass on the savings from the reforms, which could be worth an estimated total of £1.2bn. The new protocols are expected to reduce the cost of claims and benefit businesses with road vehicles, particularly those operating large commercial motor fleets.
W Denis have a dedicated motor fleet insurance team and are determined to press Insurers, who will benefit from the reduced costs of whiplash related claims, to pass back the savings to our clients.
From 31st May 2021, the majority of claims under the value of £5,000 will no longer be subject to ‘fast track’ rules. This means the cost of legal representation is no longer recoverable from the defendant – instead, the claimant is responsible for paying their own legal expenses.
As a result, RTA claims under the value of £5,000 will be settled without legal representation using the Official Injury Claim Service. Claimants will be able to use the free, independent online system to claim compensation without a lawyer.
Lord Chancellor Robert Buckland said: "For too long the system for making whiplash claims has been open to abuse by individuals looking for an easy payday - with ordinary motorists paying the price. Our changes will put an end to this greedy opportunism and ultimately see savings put back into the pockets of the country's drivers."
Under the reformed ruled, it will be necessary to supply medical evidence for whiplash claims through the Official Injury Claim service before any compensation is awarded.
A claim can be made if:
- the claimant is aged 18 or over
- the accident happened in England or Wales
- the accident happened on or after the 31st May 2021
- the claimant was inside a vehicle
- the claimant believes the accident was not their fault
The award is based on a sliding scale according to the duration of injury, ranging from £240 for whiplash only lasting less than three months up to £4,345 for whiplash with minor psychological damage where the effects last for 18 to 24 months. The claimant can apply for up to a 20% uplift in the tariff in ‘exceptional circumstances’.
There are concerns that under the new protocols it is possible that a claimant and those representing them, may opt to increase the value of claims by alleging multiple injuries or more severe psychological damage and that would mean the claims will no longer be subject to the cost restrictions.
The Law Society has responded to the new protocols by highlighting that “it’s not clear in which circumstances a judge can award a 20% uplift to the tariff” and that there could be “duplication and inconsistency – there are lots of scenarios where the process could be confusing and inconsistent for people involved in same accident.”
Reporting accidents and claims now becomes even more important and the reforms are expected to have a significant effect on providers of uninsured loss recovery (ULR) services.
Not all claims are covered by the new protocols and those falling outside the protocols include;
- injuries to children
- vulnerable road users e.g. motor cyclists and passengers, wheelchair/mobility scooter users, cyclists, horse riders and pedestrians
- foreign registered vehicles
W Denis have been arranging motor fleet insurance cover for over 50 years and deal with all the major motor fleet insurers in the UK to ensure that the most competitive quotations are obtained for our clients. If you would like a quotation or to hear more about our motor fleet offering, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org and on 0044 (0)113 2439812
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