Personal injury

What can you expect after 31 May if your whiplash claim is worth less than £5k?

With the whiplash reforms being implemented on 31 May, what can you expect if your whiplash claim is worth less than £5,000? Our experts explain what you need to know.

10 May 2021

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What are the whiplash reforms?

The Civil Liability Act 2018 and the Whiplash Injury Regulations, known more commonly as the whiplash reforms, will be implemented in England and Wales on 31 May 2021. You can find more information in our article about what the Civil Liability Act and the whiplash reforms are.

However, to summarise, if you suffer a whiplash injury in a road traffic accident, where someone else was either fully or partly to blame, you can make a claim for whiplash compensation. Currently, if your whiplash claim for pain and suffering is worth over £1,000 and your claim is successful, the insurers of the vehicle at fault will not only pay compensation for your pain and suffering and any financial losses you've incurred as a result, but they'll also pay your reasonable legal fees.

On 31 May the Government's introduction of the Civil Liability Act (CLA) will change the £1,000 limit to £5,000. This means if your claim is worth less than £5,000, although you can still make a claim for whiplash compensation for your pain and suffering and any financial losses you've incurred, the insurers of the vehicle at fault will no longer pay your reasonable legal fees. As most whiplash claims are valued at below £5,000, the whiplash reforms are likely to impact the vast majority of people who suffer whiplash as a result of a road traffic accident.

Can you still make a claim for whiplash following the whiplash reforms on 31 May 2021?

The answer is yes. However, there are two significant differences which you need to be aware of.

1. What you'll get for a whiplash claim

The amount of compensation you'll receive for a whiplash claim following 31 May has decreased. The compensation you'll receive is based on a) the length of time you suffer symptoms as a result of the accident and b) whether you've suffered any minor psychological injuries in addition to your whiplash injures.

The amount you'll receive ranges from £240 to £4,345. A full breakdown of the amounts of compensation you can receive are set out in our article, How much do you get for a whiplash claim.

Although this is a lower amount of compensation than what you can currently get for a whiplash injury, the Government have confirmed that as a result of this Act being implemented, motorists will see their car insurance cut by approximately £35 per year, which is great news for motorists, especially new and young drivers, whose insurance premiums can be quite costly.

2. You won't get your legal costs paid by the insurer of the driver at fault

This is obviously something which is causing people concern as legal costs can be expensive and you don't want to be out of pocket when making a compensation claim for something that wasn't your fault.

As a way to ensure people are still able to access justice and get the whiplash compensation they deserve, the MoJ have set up a new self-service online portal system called Official Injury Claim.

This means, anyone who has suffered a whiplash injury as a result of a road traffic accident in England and Wales can register a claim on this portal, without seeking legal advice, and represent themselves as a Litigant in Person.

While we hope the process through the MoJ's portal will be straightforward, not all claims for whiplash are. You'll need to gather medical evidence to support your claim and if the insurers of the vehicle at fault deny responsibility, negotiations will have to take place and you may even to have to attend and represent yourself in court. This can be quite a daunting, time consuming, stressful and complex process for anyone who doesn't understand the legal system.

Can you get legal representation without the risk of being out of pocket?

It's expected that many legal companies in England and Wales will be no longer be providing advice and assistance to those who've suffered whiplash as a result of road traffic accidents as they’re no longer able to recover their fees from the insurer.

However, Slater and Gordon want to ensure everyone has access to legal representation and will therefore 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 information contained in this article was correct at the time of publication.

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