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One week to go to the whiplash reforms – Here's the important stuff

With just one week to go before the whiplash reforms are implemented, we confirm the important information you'll need to know about making a claim for whiplash, and how you can still get legal representation.

24 May 2021

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There's just one week left to go before the whiplash reforms are implemented and the way you can make a claim for whiplash will change forever.

Here we confirm the important information you'll need to know if you need to make a claim for whiplash after 31 May 2021.

Why have the whiplash reforms been introduced?

In 2016/17, the number of road traffic accident cases reported in was approximately 50% higher than in 2006/2007 and whiplash claims accounted for approximately 85% of those claims. The Association of British Insurers (ABI) reported there were more than 1,500 whiplash claims made in the UK every day, which costed the insurance industry more than £2 billion per year. The ABI campaigned for reforms and in 2018, the Government introduced the Civil Liability Act (CLA) in England and Wales.

As part of the CLA, the Whiplash Injury Regulations, known as the whiplash reforms, are being implemented on 31 May 2021. These reforms will significantly reduce the cost to insurers on whiplash claims and enable them to reduce the cost of motor insurance premiums.

How will the whiplash reforms save insurance companies money?

Currently, if your claim for pain, suffering and loss of amenity (loss of enjoyment/quality of life) is worth over £1,000, as well as receiving compensation, your reasonable legal fees will be paid by the insurers of driver who's at fault. In one week, on 31 May 2021, that £1,000 threshold will change to £5,000.

This will impact the vast majority of people who suffer whiplash in a road traffic accident as the amount of compensation for pain, suffering and loss of amenity usually falls below £5,000.

Additionally, the amount of compensation you can get for a whiplash claim has also been reduced. The new tariff amounts range from £240 to £4,215, depending on how long your injury lasts and £260 to £4,345 if you also have minor psychological injuries.

As insurance companies will no longer have to pay legal fees for the majority of whiplash claims and the amount of compensation you can receive for a whiplash injury has been reduced, this will save them a significant amount of money.

Who will represent me in my whiplash claim if the insurer won't pay my legal fees?

From 31 May 2021, you'll be able to claim yourself through a new self-service online 'portal' system called the Official Injury Claim (OIC). This would mean you bring the claim yourself as a ‘Litigant in Person’, which basically means you're acting on behalf of yourself without legal representation.

There are however, challenges which may be faced when representing yourself as a Litigant in Person, and it may be a stressful and complex process.

You're still entitled to seek legal representation, however, it's expected that many legal companies will be no longer be providing advice and assistance to those who've suffered whiplash as a result of road traffic accidents as they'll no longer able to recover their fees from the insurer. There's also a risk if a law firm charge hourly rates for representation, that their fees will cost more than the compensation you receive so you may end up out of pocket.

However, Slater and Gordon want to ensure everyone has access to legal representation without the risk of being left out of pocket so will be launching the micase platform.

The micase platform is a claims portal which allows you to claim compensation, without the stress of dealing with the case yourself as a Litigant in Person. We'll be representing those who are affected by the whiplash reforms on a No Win No Fee basis, meaning, if the case is successful, we'll charge a small percentage of your compensation payment, so there'll be no financial risk.

The micase platform will be launched on 31 May 2021. If you have an accident after that date, register your details on micase and start your claim.

The above information was correct at the time of publication.

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