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New car accident whiplash reforms announced

March 3 2021

The government has confirmed that legislation paving the way for whiplash reforms will come into force from 31 May.

The new changes reveal how much compensation road users will receive for their injuries in the event of a collision. The new changes reveal how much compensation road users will receive for their injuries in the event of a collision. Drivers who receive an injury for no more than three months will receive up to
£240 in compensation.

Those who suffer an injury for between six months and nine months will receive £840 with those suffering between nine months and 12 months being paid over £1,300. Meanwhile, drivers who have an injury for over 12 months but no more than 15 months will be liable for a payout of over £2,000.

The new legislation allows for an uplift of 20 per cent in "exceptional circumstances" where courts consider damages should be greater than the original tariff. However, the courts must be satisfied the injury is "exceptionally severe" to award the extra finances.

A small fixed amount is added to cover 'minor' psychological injuries suffered at the same time as the whiplash injury.

Now legal fees are recoverable, you are able to instruct a solicitor to assist you in recovering compensation for your injuries and losses. The changes abolish legal fees as the insurance industry and government believe accident victims can do this themselves. This will remove the majority of solicitors from the process as they won’t be able to afford to take the claims on leaving the inured road user fighting their own corner.

Matt Cordall Head of Legal Practice at UnionLine says; “This is a clear attack on access to justice for many people who suffer an injury in a car because of someone else’s negligence. Not only will the victim receive (in some instances) 89% less compensation but they will have to represent themselves against the powerful insurance companies. Accident victims will have to fight liability, get their own medical evidence and treatment, pay for medical reports, and court fees and then negotiate with insurance companies for months to obtain what could be £240.”

These reforms have been pushed by the insurance industry for years in exchange for insurance premiums being reduced, something that has not been promised by the insurers and something the government have not compelled. So, while you could, maybe, save £30 on your car insurance premium at renewal, you will receive about £1,250 less for a 3-month injury should you be unfortunate enough to be involved in a car accident. That’s 41 years’ worth of insurance premium savings at £30 a year. No wonder these changes have gone under the radar.