Reform To Small Value Personal Injury Claims Passes Final Commons Hurdle

Legislation set to reduce the amount of compensation payable to those who have suffered whiplash injuries has passed through the House of Commons and is expected to be implemented in April 2020.

The reforms will introduce a fixed tariff for whiplash damages, rather than each claim being individually assessed based on medical evidence. At the same time, a rise in the small claims tariff to £5,000 for Road Traffic Accident claims will mean legal costs cannot be claimed when damages fall under this tariff.

Fixed tariffs for whiplash damages, e.g. £235 for an injury lasting up to 3 months, have been criticised as being "equivalent to some flight delays" by Andy Slaughter MP.

Currently, legal costs can be obtained by Claimants who are awarded damages over "1,000 - meaning those who suffer less serious injuries can benefit from legal advice and claim the costs when bringing a successful claim.

The reforms mean the majority of whiplash injuries with symptoms lasting under 2 years will see awards below £5,000, with an injured person required to submit their claim themselves via a new online claims portal system, rather than benefiting from the expert knowledge and experience they currently receive from a solicitor.

Stephen Green, Partner and Head of Personal Injury at Fosters said "This news will no doubt be celebrated by insurance companies whose interests have been favoured at the expense of the interests of the general public, who now face missing out on legal advice and proportionate damages".

If you have suffered personal injury through a road traffic accident and wish to pursue a claim, please or speak to one of our specialist team on 0800 731 8539.