Only a few days to go until the way in which low value road traffic accident claims are processed and compensated changes significantly. Anyone who has a car accident after this date and suffers a neck, back or shoulder injury may be surprised to find that the value of that injury is now dramatically reduced due to government reforms aimed at diminishing the number of so-called ‘whiplash’ claims. But the reality is that people do suffer from whiplash and that it can be debilitating.
The changes to the law mean that legal representation won’t necessarily be available for victims of road traffic accidents where injuries are valued at less than £5,000, though some firms of solicitors will continue to assist injured people with these claims in exchange for a percentage of their compensation as no legal costs will be recoverable from the at fault party. This will put many injured people at a huge disadvantage in trying to pursue a claim on their own, without legal support, against a large insurance company. This will include dealing with liability arguments, obtaining medical evidence and dealing with arguments about the value of the claim. Injuries worth up to £5,000 can be significant, including some minor fractures.
In addition to this, damages awarded for soft tissue injuries to the neck, back and/or shoulder (i.e. whiplash injuries) will be drastically reduced to as little as £240 for a 3 month whiplash injury. The new tariffs are derisory and will be very disappointing for unsuspecting victims of road traffic accidents who are genuinely injured.
Fortunately, vulnerable road users are excluded from these rules (for example, pedestrians, cyclists, motorcyclists and children) and will continue to claim compensation in the traditional way. However, the majority of road users stand to be disappointed by the reduced legal support available from 31st May onwards and the paltry sums offered by way of compensation for injuries suffered through no fault of their own.
If you do suffer injuries in a road traffic accident after 31st May, we may still be able to help and will need as much detail as possible about the injuries that you have suffered. Please contact our personal injury claims solicitors on 0161 696 6235.