With just over five weeks to go until the new reforms were due to be implemented (6th April 2020), the government has today announced that the whiplash reforms are now not going to be brought in until the 1st August.
Once the reforms come in, people injured in a car accident and who suffer neck/back/shoulder soft tissue injuries (colloquially known as whiplash injuries) will no longer be able to instruct a solicitor to bring a claim on their behalf.
Instead they will be required as individuals, to use an online portal to submit their claim to the insurer of the person at fault for their injuries, and proceed, without any legal assistance or representation, and claim for their injuries and losses suffered as a result of the accident, on their own.
In an effort to appease lobbyists who were concerned that such a situation would be akin to David -v- Goliath, the government promised safety nets and assurances that the individually injured person wouldn’t be at the mercy of unscrupulous insurers, who would simply ride roughshod over them by denying liability in every case, by adding as part of the new rules an alternative means of settling disputes (known as ADR), should the insurer deny liability for the accident.
Within the announcement regarding the delay today, the government have also confirmed they are dropping this significant safeguarding element of the new reforms, stating “ADR will no longer be part of the online service” and “that we will ensure access to justice by developing bespoke processes to enable litigants to go to court to establish liability”.
Exactly what those bespoke processes are going to be is yet to be detailed which is hugely concerning. How is an individual person without any legal training, assistance or support, going to be able to establish liability in a fair and just manner, against a large corporate insurance entity?
The amount of damages an injured person can claim will also be vastly reduced under these new rules and although this new tariff of injuries has yet to be published, draft figures indicate that a whiplash injury lasting up to three months will attract an award of £225. Less than half the amount you would get if your plane was delayed for five hours.
An injury lasting four to six months would attract an award of £450, seven to nine months £765, 10-12 months £1,190, 13-15 months £1,820, 16-18 months £2660 and 19-24 months £3,275.
If you feel strongly, as we do, that such reforms are very much not in the interests of the injured person and should be challenged, then please, get in touch with your local MP.
And if you have been unfortunate enough to have been injured in an accident on the road then please contact one of our highly specialised team, who currently can still help you, and get you the compensation you justly and rightly deserve on 0175 321 6399.