We’ll cut straight to the chase. The reason for writing a blog with a title that asks whether it’s still possible to make a whiplash injury claim, is due to a comment that we saw on social media recently. It was made in response to one of those adverts that you see, mainly on Facebook, but other social media sites too, from personal injury solicitors or more often than not, from claims management companies. You know the type:
“If you have been injured in accident that wasn’t your fault you could claim compensation!”
This was right at the height of the Covid19 pandemic. It didn’t go down too well if the comments underneath the advert, were anything to go by.
However, one of the more reasonable worded observations caught our eye. To paraphrase the gentleman who wrote the comment, his advice was along the lines of:
“You can’t claim for personal injury any more due to new government rules”
That’s quite a comment! All kinds of images flashed across our minds when we first read it.
What about people whose lives have been ripped apart because of serious injuries suffered in road traffic accidents caused by negligent drivers? Are they going to be denied the opportunity to claim compensation that will help make their lives that bit easier in the future?
What of an employee being denied the right to make an accident at work claim after losing an arm whilst working on a faulty and unguarded machine in a factory?
Or, how about an old lady who breaks an arm caused by tripping over dangerous and broken flagstones on the pavement, not being able to claim against the local authority for her pain and suffering, not to mention the incredible amount of disruption, to her everyday life?
Then it dawned on us. The person who had written the comment on the Facebook advert, had heard something about the so-called whiplash reforms which were due to be introduced in April 2020 (after they had already been postponed twice). Thankfully, the gentleman had got the ‘wrong end of the stick’!
The Government has delayed the Whiplash reforms because of Covid 19
The government has long since stated its’ intention to radically change the way that road traffic accident personal injury claims valued at under £5000 are to be dealt with. Briefly, the main proposed ‘changes’ are, that:
- The small claims limit in road traffic accident related personal injury cases, will rise from £1000 to £5000.
- A fixed tariff of damages (compensation) for whiplash injuries lasting up to 2 years in duration, will be introduced. These amounts will be much less than the amounts that can be recovered in compensation at the present time.
- The practice of insurance companies making offers to settle claimants’ personal injury claims without first seeing medical evidence will be banned.
If you’d like to find out more about the proposed changes, we’ve covered them in much detail in our blog “The whiplash reforms and why do we need them?”
On the 21st April 2020, the Lord Chancellor, Robert Buckland QC, announced that the implementing of the changes would be put back until April 2021. This was, he said, because:
“The current Covid-19 pandemic has had an unprecedented impact on the medical, legal and insurance sectors. While the whiplash reform measures remain important, the Government is committed to acting to ease the disruption and pressures caused by the Covid-19 outbreak where it can.”
Whatever anyone’s view of the proposed changes is, it’s absolutely right that the new rules on whiplash claims and lower value road traffic accident personal injury claims are held over until next year. There are much more important matters to be dealt with at the time of writing.
There is still much to be done in any event, before these changes come into force. We think that they are ill-thought out and that far from helping would-be claimants, they will make access for justice, for the victims of road traffic accidents, much harder to obtain.
- In answer to the question posed in the headline of this article: it is still possible to make a whiplash injury claim. In fact, even if the proposed changes to the amounts of whiplash compensation come into force in April 2021, it will still be possible to make a claim for whiplash injury. It’s just that the amount of compensation that someone suffering a whiplash injury in a road traffic accident will be able to get, after April 2021, will be much less than it is now.
However, for now, nothing has changed.
- The gentleman who made the comment on the post to the effect that it it will no longer be possible to make personal injury claims was wrong. It is probable that he had heard about the proposed increase in the small claims limit from £1000 to £5000, but had misunderstood what it meant. In any event, this change will not be introduced until April 2021, either.
If or when the small claims limit does come into force, it will mean that anyone who suffers a personal injury with a claim value of less than £5000, as a result of a road traffic accident, will be unable to recover their legal costs from the insurers of the negligent party. By introducing this change, the government’s intention is that claimants should pursue their own claims through an online portal.
There have already been numerous problems with getting this portal up and running. There are also other operational problems, like getting the correct protocols and procedures drawn up.
For now, nothing has changed.
Will the proposed changes ever come in to being? After all, even though the current postponement is due to the coronavirus epidemic, it’s fair to say that there appeared to be many obstacles still to be overcome before the new system could be put into place.
It’s impossible to say with any degree of certainty what will happen.
For now, nothing has changed.
At Mooneerams Solicitors we are personal injury specialists. We believe in doing things the right way. Our clients are people. They are not file numbers. We do home visits. We explain things in straightforward English. Our clients call us by our first names.
Most of all, we know how to claim personal injury compensation for our clients, no matter how the accident happened, and how serious the injuries sustained are. We are experts in personal injury claims.
Call us on 029 2048 3615 or leave us a message to call you back on the form at the right hand side of this page, if you’ve suffered a whiplash injury or indeed any other type of personal injury because of an accident that was caused by someone else’s carelessness. In most cases, we are able to offer to fund your case on a no win, no fee basis