New rules reducing compensation for whiplash claims “a step in the wrong direction” says personal injury lawyer
New rules governing claims for whiplash injuries suffered in road traffic accidents will make it harder for victims to claim compensation, while the damages they receive will be reduced, according to a respected personal injury lawyer.
From 31 May, new rules affecting anyone seeking compensation following a whiplash injury lasting up to 24 months will come into force. The long-awaited changes include a new tariff system and an online portal for those pursuing a whiplash claim.
Neille Ryan, Partner and Head of Personal Injury at law firm Furley Page, said: “Unfortunately these rules will make it harder for victims to get the compensation they deserve, and the amount they receive will be considerably lower, which is clearly a step in the wrong direction for those suffering the effects of a road traffic injury.
“The key change is the limit on the value of whiplash claims and it’s clear that the vast majority of those injured in road traffic accidents will receive reduced compensation under the new regime.”
For example, a claimant suffering a whiplash injury lasting up to three months will now be entitled to £240, compared to between about £1,290 and £2,300 at present. Damages will increase for every additional three months that the injury continues, reaching a potential £4,215 for an injury that lasts for two years. Currently, a two-year whiplash injury would attract damages of up to around £7,410.
The new legislation will only affect people seeking compensation for a whiplash injury they suffered in a road traffic accident from 31 May onwards, meaning that if a compensation claim is already underway the rule change will not affect the way damages are awarded.
There are some exemptions to the new rules, including children, those injured while riding a horse or motorcycle, and claims on behalf of anyone who lacks mental capacity.
The introduction of the new legislation is set to coincide with the launch of the Official Injury Claim portal (www.officialinjuryclaim.org.uk). Claimants will use this online tool to seek compensation, meaning the majority of whiplash claims will no longer go through the courts.
Neille continued: “In exceptional circumstances the tariff award may be increased by up to 20% but to receive it, the Claimant is likely to have to go to Court and persuade a Judge that theirs is an exceptional case and, in reality, we don’t expect many such enhancements to be granted.
“Furthermore, claims falling under these new rules will no longer be eligible to recover any legal fees if the claim succeeds, meaning claimants will either have to submit the claim themselves, or pay for legal help.”
“The guide for the public on how to claim their whiplash compensation is 64 pages long! It’s inevitable that some people will be put off making a claim, leading them to give up. Others may choose to enlist the services of claims farmers who will inevitably emerge, as such things as PPI and flight delay compensation have shown in the past. The public can expect even more cold calls and texts as a result of this rule change”
If you need advice about making a personal injury compensation claim or a claim for medical negligence, contact Neille Ryan on 01227 763939 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
For more information on the firm visit Furley Page’s website www.furleypage.co.uk or follow the firm on Twitter @furleypage and on LinkedIn.