Personal injury

Who will be affected by the whiplash reforms?

When the whiplash reforms are implemented on 31 May 2021, not everyone will be affected. Read more to find out if you will be affected by them.

26 May 2021

Newsroom - traffic cars vehicles

What are the whiplash reforms changing?

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 will implement the Civil Liability Act 2018 (CLA) and the Whiplash Injury Regulations, more commonly known as the whiplash reforms. This will change the current £1,000 limit to £5,000 so, although you'll still get compensation for your whiplash injuries from the insurer of the vehicle at fault, if your claim is less than £5,000, they'll not pay your reasonable legal fees. As most claims for whiplash are worth less than £5,000, this will change the way you're able to make a claim for compensation if you have a road accident which results in a whiplash injury.

Who will be affected by the whiplash reforms?

Not everyone is affected by the whiplash reforms as there are exemptions:

1. If your accident happened in Scotland

The whiplash reforms and the Civil Liability Act are to be implemented in England and Wales from 31 May 2021. Therefore, if your road traffic accident causing whiplash injuries happened in Scotland, there'll be no change to the way in which you claim for whiplash injuries.

2. Vulnerable road users

The new rules state that 'vulnerable road users' will not be affected by the whiplash reforms. Their definition of a vulnerable road user is someone, who at the time of the accident, was:

  • Riding a motorcycle
  • The passenger of a motorcycle, either a pillion passenger or a sidecar passenger
  • Using a wheelchair, powered wheelchair or mobility scooter
  • Cycling on a bicycle or other pedal cycle
  • Riding a horse
  • A pedestrian

If you're considered a vulnerable road user, you won't be affected by the whiplash reform changes.

3. Children and other protected parties

Children and other protected parties, such as people who lack the mental capacity to deal with their own affairs, will also not be affected by the whiplash reforms and will continue to claim in the same way as they did prior to the whiplash reforms.

4. If someone dies

If the driver at fault for the accident or the injured person dies, the whiplash reforms will not affect the claim, so it will be dealt with in the same way as before the implementation of the reforms.

5. Bankruptcy

If you're bankrupt at the time of the accident, you'll not be affected by the whiplash reforms and will be able to claim in the same way as you can now.

6. Vehicle registered outside of the UK

If the vehicle of the driver at fault is registered outside of the UK, you'll not be affected by the whiplash regulations.

How do you make a claim if your legal fees are not paid?

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 suffers a whiplash injury as a result of a road traffic accident, and is affected by the whiplash reforms, 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 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 still get legal representation, even if your fees won't be paid by the insurer?

Yes. 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. There will be legal firms that do take these cases, but please be careful when entering into any agreements with them of the fees they charge, as depending on the amount they charge and the amount of compensation you receive, you may end up out of pocket.

Slater and Gordon want to ensure everyone has access to legal representation without the risk of being left out of pocket so, on 31 May we'll be launching the micase platform. The micase platform is a self service 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.

How do you make a claim for whiplash injuries?

Whether you're affected or not, it's simply and straightforward to make a claim for whiplash injuries. Simply register your details on the micase RTA platform and start your claim.

The above information was correct at the time of publication.

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