At present, if you have an accident and the level of general damages (compensation awarded for pain, suffering and loss of amenity) is likely to be more than £1,000, you can take your case to court and obtain legal representation from a solicitor, who is able to recover costs from the other side.
What do the new rules mean?
The new rules will mean that if you have a road traffic accident, you will not be able to obtain legal representation unless your claim for general damages for a soft tissue injury is going to be worth more than £5,000. This will affect most people who suffer whiplash or soft tissue type injuries in a road traffic accident. If you do wish to make a claim, you will have to represent yourself against the insurer or cover the cost of legal representation yourself.
For other types of personal claim, the small claims limit will increase from £1,000 to £2,000, at which level you will be able to obtain legal representation and the costs can be covered.
The Civil Liability Act 2018
From April 2020, the same time as the small claims limit will increase, other changes to whiplash compensation claims will be introduced by the government as part of the Civil Liability Act 2018.
This act now defines whiplash as an “injury of soft tissue in the neck, back or shoulder that is…a sprain, strain, tear, rupture or lesser damage of a muscle, tendon or ligament in the neck, back or shoulder, or an injury of soft tissue associated with a muscle, tendon or ligament in the neck, back or shoulder”.
The act will also bring in a tariff-based scheme for whiplash claims that last up to two years. The tariff will be set by the Lord Chancellor. The rates within this tariff are not yet known but proposals are as follows:
- £235 for injuries lasting up to three months
- £470 for injuries lasting up to six months
- £805 for injuries lasting up to nine months
- £1,250 for injuries lasting up to a year
- £1,910for injuries lasting up to 15 months
- £2,790 where the injury lasts up to 18 months
- £3,910 where the injury lasts up to two years
The tariff-based system will not apply to claims made by motorcyclists or their passengers, cyclists, pedestrians or other road users who are not using a motor vehicle.
Finally, the act will ban the settlement of claims without a medical report being obtained.
Make your road traffic accident compensation claim now!
So, if you have had a road traffic accident and are thinking of making a claim for compensation – now is the time to do it. There is still time to get help from our personal injury experts, so contact us now. We will arrange a meeting, free of charge, with one of our experts and let you know if you are able to make a claim and how we can help. If we are able to help with your claim, we will offer you a no-win, no-fee agreement so that you will not incur any costs before your claim goes ahead.
You can find out more about making a claim for a road traffic accident on our web pages.
Author: Belinda Lancaster. Partner and personal injury solicitor.