Are Whiplash claims about to be consigned to history?

This week, our Claims Director, Jody Thirkell, gives his thoughts on another key change for the insurance industry. Let us know your thoughts on the future of Whiplash claims by commenting on our Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.

The new Civil Liability Bill is set to be introduced into legislation in April 2019 and could have far reaching consequences for the landscape of Road Traffic Accident (RTA) claims.

The Bill proposes to significantly restrict the damages payable for whiplash injuries and also increase the small claims limit for RTA injury claims to £5000.

In practical terms, this means the following limits will apply:

  • Whiplash injury with pain and suffering for less than 3 months – £225 maximum damages
  • Whiplash injury with pain and suffering up to 6 months – £450 maximum damages
  • Whiplash injury with pain and suffering up to 9 months – £765 maximum damages
  • The maximum fixed tariff for whiplash injuries where victims have suffered up to 2 years will be £3725

Claims will also only be payable with supporting medical evidence.

This will save insurers billions for minor whiplash claims but the increase of the small claims limit for RTA’s to £5000 may sound the death knell for these claims altogether. This increase will mean that solicitors would not be able to recover their costs from the defendant if damages are under £5000 and so their only option would be to take a percentage of the damages won.

Future claimants will therefore have two options

  • Act as a claimant in person and go through a laborious process of entering details onto a Portal and visiting a medical expert (and paying up front for the pleasure) for a minor neck strain
  • Instruct a lawyer who will take a large chunk of their damages at the end of the process

It is unlikely that firms of solicitors will see small whiplash claims as profitable business and will withdraw from the market altogether. Also, a large portion of claimants in person just won’t be bothered with the hassle for the sake of a £225 cheque.

The whiplash culture and self-perpetuating industry it has created may be coming to an end, and many will not be shedding a tear at the news!

If you’d like to discuss any future changes to insurance legislation, Jody and other key members of our team are happy to help. Simply give us a call on 0113 281 8110.