In our Ask The Legal Expert column we get the latest specialist advice from JCP Solicitors.
This month, Ceri Noble, Associate Solicitor from the Personal Injury team at JCP Solicitors, which has an office in Caerphilly, sheds light on Whiplash Reforms.
I was involved in a Road Traffic Accident in April 2021 when my car was shunted from behind by another car. I now have a whiplash type injury that is hampering my independence. Should I see a Solicitor?
I’m sorry to hear about your accident – I hope you are getting medical care. The Ministry of Justice (MOJ) recently confirmed Whiplash Reforms which come into force from 31 May 2021. These reforms change the way Personal Injury claims arising from RTAs are dealt with, in that compensation awards are significantly lower. However, since your accident took place in April, the older rules will apply to your case as it only effects claims which occur on or after 31 May 2021.
The reforms will make it more difficult for the victim of an RTA to get legal representation for their claim, because the insurers of the Defendant – the person at fault for causing the accident – will not be required to meet any legal costs for Personal Injury claims where the compensation claim for pain, suffering and loss of amenity is valued at £5,000 or less. As it used to stand, low value claims up to £25,000 were dealt with through the online MOJ Claims Portal, with the small claims limit set at £1,000 to warrant the instruction of a Solicitor. This enabled people who had suffered relatively minor injuries to pursue a claim for Personal Injury with legal representation, as the Defendant party’s insurers were required to pay fixed legal costs in pursuing the claim.
If you are involved a Road Traffic Accident on or after 31 May 2021 you will be subject to these new limits. So, if you sustain minor whiplash injuries valued at less than £5,000, you will have to pursue the claim as an individual using the new Small Claims Portal. These reforms will only affect claims arising out of RTAs. Other claims arising as a result of Employers Liability, such as accidents at work, and Public Liability, such as slips and falls in public places, remain unaffected.
The reforms will introduce a two category tariff based system, applying to whiplash type injuries which are not likely to last longer than two years, and to whiplash type injuries with additional minor psychological injuries. There are a number of exceptions to the new rules applicable to vulnerable road users, and children under 18 and others who lack legal capacity, as they will still be able to recover legal costs despite the reforms.
There are still uncertainties regarding the implementation of the new rules in terms of how access to justice will be upheld. To discuss the new tariffs, or for further guidance, contact Ceri on: 02920 860628 or: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The question posed is based upon a hypothetical situation. This content does not constitute legal advice and is provided for general information purposes only.