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Legal Update – Personal Injury Whiplash Reform

It was announced yesterday that the whiplash reform programme which includes increasing the small claims limit for road traffic accident whiplash claims to £5,000 and introducing fixed compensation for injuries of up to two years and which was due to be brought in on 1 April 2020 has been delayed by a further six months.

These reforms will mean that individuals who have suffered a whiplash type injury in a road traffic accident will now have to make their own claims against insurance companies through a dedicated claims portal and without the benefit of legal advice. Insurers will also be banned from offering to settle or settling whiplash claims without medical evidence.

It was hoped that that the reforms would provide free dispute resolution for cases where liability is denied or where a claimant considers an offer is too low, but this element for helping litigants in person has been dropped and instead, in such circumstances, claims will need to be pursued through the court. Details of this ‘bespoke process’ are awaited.

These reforms are expected to result in a reduction in insurance costs for motorists – I for one won’t be holding my breath in anticipation and once the reforms are brought in, will be challenging my insurance company if my renewal comes in higher than my previous years’ premium – I suggest you do the same!

The reforms do not apply to those who have been termed vulnerable road-users, such as motor-cyclists, cyclists and pedestrians, as well as children or protected parties.

If you are in the unfortunate position of having been injured in an accident or suffered injury through no fault of your own whether that be in a road traffic accident, in the course of your employment or on public property such as falls or trips at premises at which members of the public are expected to be) or consider you have an industrial disease or medical negligence claim, then please contact Lorraine Walker at Willsons Solicitors, on 02476 387821 without obligation to talk through matters.