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Whiplash Reforms: what are they and how might they affect you?

On 31 May 2021, the government introduced the ‘Whiplash Reforms’, which changed the way some road traffic accident injury claims are handled. Here’s a quick summary of what you need to know

woman-after-accident

When did the changes go live and how do they apply?

After some delays amidst the pandemic, the Whiplash Reforms took effect within England and Wales for lower-value injury claims only, from road traffic accidents that occurred on or after 31 May 2021.

Other road users, such as pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists are excluded from the reforms. If you were injured prior to 31 May 2021, the changes don’t apply to your claim. This means there’s no need to worry about any existing claims you might have ongoing prior to this date.

What’s changed?

•    A new legal definition of a ‘whiplash injury’ will apply 
•    Medical evidence is needed to prove any whiplash injuries before a claim can be settled  
•    Compensation for whiplash injuries will be based on a set amount depending on the duration of the injuries 
•    Unlike today, legal costs for claims valued up to £5000 can’t be recovered from the at-fault party

Why did the government introduce the changes?

The government intends to reduce the overall number and cost of low-value injury claims resulting from road traffic accidents.

Can a compensation claim still be made for injuries resulting from a road traffic accident? 

Yes, that hasn’t changed. The reforms don’t prevent people from making a genuine compensation claim and securing a settlement for injuries resulting from a road traffic accident that wasn’t the injured party’s fault.

In fact, if you have Legal Expenses Insurance (sometimes referred to as ‘Motor Legal Protection’) with your insurance policy, legal assistance can be provided to help you bring your claim at no additional cost.

If you don’t have Legal Expenses Insurance, you can still make a claim by either choosing to bring a claim yourself online using the government’s Official Injury Claim Portal, which came into effect from 31st May 2021, or by seeking legal representation of your own, which would usually come at a cost.

Whatever the circumstance, we’ll be able to support you arrive at the right decision for you.