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Whiplash reforms delayed until August 2020

Reforms to whiplash claims, which were due to be implemented in April 2020, have been delayed until August 2020.

whiplashLord Chancellor and Secretary of State, Robert Buckland, announced the delay on 27th February 2020, saying that extra time was needed to “make sure that the Whiplash Reform Programme is fully ready for implementation”.

The changes, which are proposed within the Civil Liability Bill, will:

  • raise the small claims limit for road traffic accident related personal injury claims from £1,000 to £5,000, and to £2,000 for other personal injury claims, which means that claims of less than these amounts will be transferred to the Small Claims Court and solicitor fees will not be recoverable – leaving some injured people with no legal advice or representation
  • limit the right to compensation for ‘minor’ soft tissue injuries (this includes whiplash) that last for less than two years, with compensation being paid on a sliding scale, starting at a proposed £225 for injuries lasting up to three months and £3,725 for injuries lasting up to two years

Mr Buckland says that the government needs more time to put the statutory instrument to Parliament to set the tariff.  He has also confirmed that vulnerable road users, such as motorcyclists, cyclists and pedestrians, as well as children and protected parties (those lacking capacity), will not be covered by the new rules and will continue to bring claims using the fast-track system, as is currently the case.

The proposals originally included an alternative dispute resolution (ADR) element to help sort out issues when insurers disputed liability.  This has now been dropped, with Mr Buckland saying that “no practicable solution which gave sufficient coverage of ADR for claims could be found”, and “as a result, ADR will no longer be part of the online service. Instead, we will ensure access to justice by developing bespoke processes to enable litigants to go to court to establish liability.”

The Ministry of Justice says that it remains “firmly committed to implementing measures to tackle the high number and cost of whiplash claims” but that it has always been clear that it needs to be done “right rather than hastily”. It also confirms that the statutory tariff will be published in sufficient time before implementation of the changes.

Whilst we wait for the changes to come into force, we will continue to represent clients who have been injured through no fault of their own, so if you would like to discuss your accident or injury, please contact our experts now.  We will arrange a free of charge meeting in which we can discuss your case and advise on your prospects of success.  We offer a no win – no fee service on all claims and a straightforward, hassle-free claims process.  You can find out more about making a claim for a whiplash on our web pages. Or go to our news section, where you can find out how our lawyers have helped many road users successfully claim compensation.

Find out more about our personal injury team here.

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