Crackdown on Whiplash Claims in England and Wales - Kerr Brown Solicitors Blog & News
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Crackdown on Whiplash Claims in England and Wales

The UK Government has launched a consultation exercise over new proposals to reduce the number of whiplash claims in England and Wales. It says that such a move will allow insurance companies to reduce the cost of motor insurance premiums.

According to the Government, whiplash claims are 50% higher than a decade ago, despite the UK having some of the safest roads in Europe.

Proposed Reforms

The proposals include plans to scrap the right to compensation or put a cap on the amount people can claim for minor whiplash injuries. Capping compensation would see the average pay-out cut from £1,850 to a maximum amount of £425. Compensation would only be paid out if a medical report was provided as proof of injury.

Other measures proposed by the Government include:

  • introducing a transparent tariff system of compensation payments for claims with more significant injuries,
  • raising the limit for cases in the small claims court for all personal injury claims from £1,000 to £5,000, and
  • banning offers to settle claims without medical evidence. All claims would need a report from a MedCo accredited medical expert before any pay out.

Mixed Reaction to Proposals

The proposals have been welcomed by the Association of British Insurers (ABI).

"We will need to study the proposals carefully and look forward to participating in this consultation, and the debate about how we can ensure fair compensation for genuine claimants and a fairer deal for motorists,” said James Dalton, ABI’s Director of General Insurance Policy.  

However, the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL) has described the proposals as taking common law back to the dark ages.

“The right to compensation for an injury caused by someone else’s negligence has been an important aspect of civil justice for centuries, and with good reason,” explained Neil Sugarman, president of APIL.

“In a society where no-one bats an eyelid about claiming compensation for a late train or being mis-sold an insurance policy, the idea that injured people should be treated as some kind of second class citizens simply beggars belief,” he said.

“Why should compensation be denied to, or restricted for, a young mum who was previously perfectly fit but cannot pick up and hold her baby, or an elderly man who can’t get out and about as he used to do before he completely lost his confidence?” he added.

Limiting Access to Justice

The Law Society has also expressed concern over the plans, particularly over the proposed increase to the small claims limit for personal injury.

“These proposals will completely undermine the right of ordinary people to receive full and proper compensation from those that have injured them - often seriously - through negligence,” said Law Society president Robert Bourns. “This five-fold increase will stop people getting the legal advice they need in order to bring claims for the compensation they are entitled to in law.”

“Spinning this proposal as an attack on the 'compensation culture' and claiming it will reduce premiums is misleading,” he added. “If you are injured through no fault of your own you should be allowed to claim for that.”

Contact Us

If you have suffered a whiplash injury and would like to find out about claiming compensation, then contact our expert personal injury lawyers today.

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