Acid attacks: How to prevent a very real threat

It’s not something we want to talk about. An attack that causes serious harm to lots of people is the worst fear of any venue owner.

But we have to face the fact that acid attacks are a very real threat.

The UK has one of the highest acid attack rates in the world, with the number of these crimes surging by more than 500% between 2012 and 2016.

The attacks can be devastating and life-altering. Or in the case of Joanne Rand in 2011, life-ending.

If a person is intent on doing harm, venues such as nightclubs, sports grounds, shopping centres etc are unfortunately an ideal venue for acid attacks. When rooms are full and people distracted, victims find it harder to defend themselves. It’s also much harder to identify the perpetrator.

In 2017, Arthur Collins was sentenced to 20 years in prison after he sprayed acid in a London nightclub, injuring 22 people. On the night, he managed to evade suspicion after the incident and was even reported to have continued to drink, dance and send pictures via Snapchat.

It was only when CCTV pictures were analysed that Collins was identified.

Very recently, action has been taken by the government and retailers to prevent these attacks. This includes not selling the substance to under 18s and increasing sentences for those carrying acid on multiple occasions, or carrying with intent.

However, the changes don’t go far enough. It is still perfectly legal to carry acid.

And the definition of the crime is still more lenient than other weapons; stabbing someone is classed as attempted murder whereas use of acid is only GBH.

In this article, we’re going to look at the measures you should be taking to prevent an acid attack in your venue and how to limit the damage if one does occur.

Which types of acid are used in attacks

One of the main problems with preventing an acid attack is that acid is so widely used in everyday life.

Sulphuric acid, for instance, is used as drain cleaner by people doing domestic cleaning. It just so happens that it also has the capacity to cause severe burns and dissolve skin and bones.

Sulphuric, along with nitric acid is the most devastating, but hydrochloric acid or ammonia, which are found in common household products, are still toxic.

The acids are perfectly legal over-the-counter products. However, shops are duty-bound to report any suspicious purchase.

Preventative measures

Here are a few examples of the preventative measures business owners can take to prevent an acid attack.

Door searches

No one likes being frisked on the way into a venue. It doesn’t set the right tone for a good entertainment or shopping experience.

But it’s much better to put up with a full body search for 10 seconds than deal with a lifetime of pain and discomfort from an acid attack.

Door searches should specifically look for people bringing containers into the venue, as well as usual offensive items such as knives or drugs.

Question suspicious clothing

When you’re admitting people to your venue or place of work, question whether the clothes they’re wearing are appropriate for the situation. If they’re not, why not.

For instance, if you run a nightclub, and someone tries to enter wearing a large coat, you have every right to be suspicious. Why would someone want to wear such a thick item of clothing into a warm venue?

One reason might be because it’s easier to conceal offensive objects in thicker clothing.

Similarly, if someone enters wearing a baseball cap, chances are they’re not keeping the sun from their eyes. But there is a chance they’re wearing the cap to hide their identity.

Be careful; suspicion because you don’t like the way someone is dressed is discriminatory.

Active security presence

Having numbers is merely a box-ticking exercise.

Your security must be active and efficient, making sure that they’re aware of anyone acting suspiciously or in an aggressive manner.

Remember that acid is the weapon of choice for people who want to do the most amount of damage with the least chance of retribution. They’re harder to spot, but they’re more likely to be put off by a strong security presence.

What to do in the aftermath of an attack

Water, water, water

Acid will not dilute, it has to be completely washed off the body. To do this, you need to continuously apply large amounts of water for at least 20 mins. Experts say you should use at least 40 to 60 litres of water per wound.

Call the emergency services

Flooding the wound and stopping the burn is vital, but someone should immediately call the emergency services. Because acid doesn’t dilute, even the water used to wash the acid away will contain acid. Anyone at the scene should have proper training and proper protective gear. For mass-scale attacks, only firefighters can realistically provide the amount of water required.

Cut off clothes

Acid doesn’t differentiate between skin and clothes. It attaches itself to whatever it can find. If acid has gone on your clothes, it’s only a matter of time before it burns through and onto your skin.

All clothes should be cut away to avoid further burns.

Evacuate the area

It’s impossible to tell where acid is if it’s a clear liquid. That means that if the area isn’t evacuated, it could attach itself to shoes, clothing or personal items. After an acid attack, the area should be completely cleared to allow the emergency services to do their jobs.

The Insurance Part

Sticking to your risk management duties is one thing, but most businesses will follow the above advice regardless of their insurance commitments. That’s because they care about their customers.

But there are repercussions of acid attacks that proper insurance cover must take into account.

In the event that a copious volume of water is used to deal with the acid attack, you would have a saturated premises which would need to urgent attention by an appropriate ‘disaster restoration company’. They would set to safely removing and disposing of the water/residue/affected items and then dry out the damaged property, after which it would be restored. All of this should be covered under a Material Damage policy item particularly an All Risks policy wording, which covers Accidental loss, destruction or damage unless otherwise excluded.

From a public liability point of view, you have an obligation to create a safe space for your customers. You can’t be held responsible for the actions of an attacker, but you might be liable if you didn’t do enough to stop them.

Acid attacks are getting more and more common. Acid as a weapon should be treated with the same seriousness as knives or guns.

Our growing reputation in Halifax

Any good business knows that the best growth comes from giving back. Whether that’s through recruiting local talent or supporting local projects, businesses that succeed are the ones that grow roots.

And that’s exactly what our Halifax office is doing. Since moving into Dean Clough mill, our Halifax team has gone from strength to strength. We’ve grown considerably, both in the number of staff and in the services we deliver.

In fact, we’ve seen such impressive growth in just five years, that we’ve outgrown our first Halifax office and have had to move into a bigger space (still in Dean Clough).

Don’t be surprised if that new office reaches maximum capacity in the near future either, as we’re constantly on the lookout for Halifax and Calderdale’s top insurance talent.

We’re not judging our growth on the size of our business alone, but also in the strength of our positive impact in the community.

We’re keen to make sure that, as with all our offices, the Halifax office can succeed because the area of Halifax is succeeding too.

That’s why we’re happy to support a number of local projects that bring happiness and wellbeing to residents of the town.

The first of these is ‘Light Up A Life’, a number of special services organised by the Overgate Hospice. Those will run through December and we’re delighted to back such a great cause. If you want to know more about Light Up A Life, you can read about it here.

That’s not the only Halifax cause we’re sponsoring in December though.

We’re also putting our backing behind the Mencap ball.

Followed, in January, by another Overgate Hospice event – the Sportsman’s Dinner.

These are exciting times for Romero in Halifax, and for the town as a whole. We look forward to helping Halifax grow and prosper.

How to avoid keyless theft

Cars have come a long way in recent years. The comfort and performance that we take for granted now, was only a pipe dream 10-15 years ago.

There’s no better example of this than security and access. Automotive designers have considered how people use their car in their everyday life and created solutions to suit.

One such solution has been keyless entry, where you can gain access to your car so long as your key is on your person and you’re within a certain distance of the car.

A great idea. Less fumbling around for keys, potentially less theft of keys.

However, as criminal behaviour and new security technology play a cat and mouse game, keyless entry has left a backdoor to opportunists who now no longer need direct access to your keys to get into your car.

How does keyless theft work?
Keyless entry works on via a signal. In simplistic terms, if your car can read the signal from the key, it will unlock. If it can’t, it will lock.

Keyless theft, also known as ‘relay theft’ is relatively simple and involves using a couple of devices to trick the car into thinking the key is closer than it actually is.

The two devices are a relay amplifier and a relay transmitter (hence ‘relay theft’). When thieves have identified a house with a keyless-entry car on the driveway, they use the amplifier to increase the reach of the signal. The transmitter, which is held by someone stood next to the car, picks up this extended signal and essentially becomes the key.

The car picks up what it believes to be the key and unlocks.

How can you prevent keyless theft?
The crime may be pretty simple but it’s also pretty simple to prevent if you take proper precautions. We’ve listed three below, but these options should be explored as an additional to standard precautions for expensive cars. Physical barriers (such as steering wheel locks), housing your car in a garage, never keeping valuables in your car etc should all be pre-requisites.

Below are three ways you can prevent criminals from picking up the signal from your key and amplifying it:

Faraday Pouch
A Faraday Pouch is a little pocket holder for your key which blocks any signal from entering or leaving. Before purchasing a Faraday Pouch, you should consult a trusted expert. Tests on some Faraday pouches have shown some signal still transmitting, so you should only purchase one that has passed rigorous testing.

Keep keys away from doors and windows
We would advise that all keys, whether for keyless entry or not, are left far from home entry points.

Keyless entry only works if the thieves can pick up the signal from your keys and this is a lot easier for them to do if they know where the keys are. Keep your keys away from any entry point and out of sight.

Find out if you can switch your key off
This isn’t applicable to all keyless-entry keys, but some may have an option to switch off keyless entry when not in use. Speak to the car manufacturer to find out if this is the case and whether it is detrimental to the car to turn this system off and on repeatedly.

As always with criminal behaviour, the best defence is a good offence. We may never completely eradicate theft, but we can make it harder for criminals. Insurance claims are easier won if all reasonable preventative measures are put in place.

Our claims director, Jody Thirkell, told us:

“Our claims team are seeing more and more of these types of theft and on one occasion, three keyless entry vehicles were stolen on the same night from one location with the keys hanging up just inside the front door of the property. Our clients should be alive to these risks which may not have even been considered until it is too late. As always, if you need advice Romero customers can call our claims team on 0113 2814 8110.”

If you need any more information, you can also contact us via Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.

Support the IPT freeze

As a way of combatting a decrease in the money the government takes from fuel duty, there is a real concern in the insurance industry that Phillip Hammond plans to put a rise in Insurance Premium Tax in his next budget.

IPT, which currently stands at 12%, is a tax on premiums paid by the policyholder.

It has already risen in the considerably in the last two years; doubling from 6% to 12%. That, according to BIBA shows an increase larger than that of tobacco and alcohol duties.

Romero Insurance Brokers suggest that any rise in IPT would be grossly unfair and potentially dangerous.

Insurance is vital for any business, no matter the size, and an increase in costs could squeeze some bottom lines to breaking point. Or even more worryingly, some would avoid paying for insurance altogether.

You shouldn’t be penalised for doing the right thing.

There have already been calls from insurer, Ecclesiastical and the Charity Finance Group to make charities exempt from paying the tax. But if it’s unfair for charities to pay IPT, detractors could also argue that it’s unfair for 3rd sector contractors, businesses with low profits and those with high premiums after a series of no-fault claims, to pay.

Romero MD, Simon Mabb, had these words on the matter:

The government have increased the Insurance Premium Tax rate in the last few years from the original 2.5% when first introduced to 12%.  This has been an extra source of revenue for the tax man but this is now affecting customer’s insurance purchasing decisions which can’t be right.  The 12% rate is excessive and on motor business the government is taking more in tax than the broker that is arranging the cover, advising the customer on cover and assisting with claims.  The broker is also having to fund regulation costs from their income as well.  We regularly see customers that need specialist covers, for example, flood cover, that are just priced out of taking this with the additional 12% tax on top.  Likewise a young driver paying £2,000 for their insurance premium is paying a further £240 in Insurance Premium Tax. 

There is talk of the government looking to raise this 12% higher still in the next budget and this is something we all need to be vocal about.  The insurance industry and the end customers alike.  At the end of the day it is wrong to penalise people for doing the responsible thing, which is why we’re calling for an end to rises in Insurance Premium Tax which is a tax on the consumer not a tax on insurers as has been portrayed by the government with previous increases.

If you feel as strongly as we do about freezing IPT, it’s important that you lobby your MP and make your voice heard. This proposed rise is unfair and anti-growth, and must be stopped.

You can follow the #IPTsUnfair hashtag on Twitter for the latest updates.

Directors and Officers Claims Trends: How is D&O changing as we head towards 2020?

At Romero Insurance Brokers, we look at every case individually and assess the requirement of each company for each type of insurance. We make sure that our clients are covered for all eventualities. We know what a large impact even a single claim can have on your business, so making sure you’re financially protected is the first line of defence.

In our latest article, we look at the how D&O claims will change and evolve in the near future. This article features comment on changing regulations, a growing claims culture and increasing costs. If you have any thoughts on anything you read below, we’d love to hear them! Contact us today via the contact information at the top of this page or find us on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter.

Regulations tighten, but people are still people.

The attitude of a claimant drives the claim, and sometimes the actual merit of the case takes a back seat. No matter how blameless the defendant, determined claimants taking action without legal action can incur thousands in costs and drags cases over months and sometimes years.

Contract disputes will always be a major part of everyday business

In a slightly frustrating continuing trend, D&O claims from contract disputes will probably continue indefinitely. There will always be a supplier or purchaser who isn’t happy with a certain product and service, and no matter how blameless the other party, people don’t like paying if they don’t think they’re getting value for money.

Depending on the insurer, there are different levels of cover in D&O depending on the dispute. It’s vital in this area that you study your policy wording. We work with a large panel of British insurers, all of whom have their own definitions of what would be covered under their D&O policies for contract disputes. Some may cover simple contract disputes, but it’s rare. It’s likely that your circumstances will have to meet a certain number of specified criteria. If you’d like us to help you examine your policy in more detail, or explain the ins and outs, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

In the age of social media and digital footprints, bad news travels fast.

With today’s technology and the immediate and public access customers have to companies, PR and reputational protection is important. We have seen recent examples, such as the multiple profit warnings at Provident Financial in 2017, where thousands of disgruntled customers and employees have taken to social media and other PR channels to vent anger.

If the reputational damage is a result of mistake or breach of duty of a director or officer, the financial implications for the business could be huge.

As more and more people become digitally literate, and the economic and ethical performance of companies is more open to the public, D&O protection of this kind is a growing requirement.

Changes in insolvency rules will increase claims against D&O.

As the number of company and individual insolvencies continues to rise, it’s predicted that claims against D&O insurance will do the same. Changes in the rules regarding insolvencies have led to more focus on the behaviour of directors (who now have to have their previous 3 years conduct examined, not 2) and shadow directors (who were previously hidden from scrutiny). The Insolvency service also now have longer (3 years instead of 2) to bring about action.

HSE fine levels will increase the financial repercussions of health and safety breaches.

Recent regulatory changes now allow the HSE to hand out larger fines to companies that are found to have been in constant or serious breach of health and safety law. Whether through causation or correlation, the number of fines over £1m in 2017 was more than the previous 20 years put together.

HSE investigations and prosecutions were already a frequent source of D&O claims. We’re possibly set for a cat and mouse game of the HSE chasing more prosecutions because of bigger fines, and the companies themselves taking health and safety and the avoidance of such prosecutions more seriously.

Breach of fiduciary duties claims will grow, but still create big grey areas.

The number of claims by investors against directors failing to fulfil their fiduciary duties has risen. Many fiduciary duties are vague and can incorporate many aspects, so whether or not an individual has fulfilled or is in breach of their duties, is often debatable. Prime and common examples of these type of claims include dual interest (where having interests in another company hinders performance for the business in question), upholding the positive image of a brand or irresponsible pay outs for former employees or contractors.

It’s become more expensive to fight D&O claims

Alongside a rise in claims culture, the cost of defence and barristers is increasing. As the waters of D&O claims become murkier and murkier, claims that would once have been settled out of court via legal advisers are no requiring the support of barristers and other expensive defence personnel. And with more information and data available to claimants and defendants than ever before, more hours are required to examine all evidence.

In this article, we looked at the latest report by AIG into the changing landscape of D&O insurance. For the full article from AIG, click here.

Premium Credit back online after Cyber Incident

Premium Credit, the UK company which provides finance to customers to pay their insurance premiums, is back online after suffering a ‘cyber incident’ which left their systems offline and with no access to phones for more than a week.

Many brokers were left in the dark by the situation with very little contact coming from Premium Credit. However, the major FS company say that no data breach was identified and they’ve now released a statement on their website thanking customer for their patience.

The call centre is taking calls although they still only have limited access to emails.

From a customer perspective, it appears that there may still be a little bit of a waiting game. Despite the communications lines becoming available once more, the investigation continues into the exact nature of the attack.

But they do say that to their knowledge, no customer data has been compromised.

There had been rumours which suggest hackers were in complete control of the Premium Credit database.

Premium Credit has though confirmed that any customer payment delayed by the incident will not incur charges or be classed as a default.

Cyber-attacks like these are unfortunately becoming more and more common. And the fact the aftermath of the attack lasted over a week, shows how serious an incident it was.

In a changing criminal landscape, cyber insurance is becoming a must-have. Many companies could not function without their IT. They store sensitive and personal data, as well as information that keeps systems running day-to-day.

We are here to offer advice on cyber insurance to all our clients. Contact us today for more information.

For now, Premium Credit is open for business.  We’ll keep you up to date with progress on this story. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter for more updates.

Fire Door Safety Week 24-30 September 2018

It’s the last week of September, but you probably already knew that. It’s also the 39th week of the year and just 89 days till Christmas, although you probably knew that as well.

But you probably weren’t aware that it’s also Fire Door Safety Week. If you did, hats off to you.

Fire Door Safety week acts as a reminder to everyone to make sure that all fire doors are in proper working order and fit for purpose. Fire doors save lives; they’re not just for box-ticking.

Here are some facts about the proper use of fire doors that you might not know:

  • It is illegal to keep fire doors wedged open
  • You need to carry out formal checks of your fire doors at least every six months to look for damage
  • You must carry out maintenance to ensure that your fire doors continue to remain effective.
  • Smoke from a fire can spread rapidly if unchecked – thick, black smoke can fill a building within minutes.

Fire Door Safety Week was established by the British Woodworking Federation and the Fire Door Inspection Scheme in 2012. The idea was to raise awareness about poor installation and inadequate maintenance.

As much as it seems like overkill to have an entire week dedicated to it, the need for this awareness campaign is greater than you’d think. In fact, a review undertaken by the Fire Door Inspection Scheme in 2015 found that:

  • Over 61% of fire doors inspected had problems with fire/smoke seals
  • More than one third of fire doors had incorrect signage
  • A significant number of fire doors had a gap between the door and the frame greater than 3mm
  • More than 20% of doors had unsuitable hinges
  • Almost 1 in 6 had damage to the door leaf.

Fire door management is a key part of your risk management, an area of insurance that we take extremely seriously. We’re not just here to help cover against claims. We want to prevent them in the first place.

Speaking to a certified fire door inspector, or a member of our risk management team, is essential in ensuring that you are completely up to date with regulations and your doors are properly maintained and installed. Some of the issues that the professional will examine are:

  • Handles that have been replaced with aluminium ones or other non-fire door related door furniture
  • Locks that have been installed which have an open keyhole, not protected by intumescent material
  • Ventilation panels have been installed and not suitably fire rated
  • Glass has been replaced with non-fire rated glass, or has been covered over with privacy film
  • Parts, such as magnetic locks, have been removed leaving holes in the doors which would allow smoke to spread through
  • Hinges have become worn or misaligned, leaving gaps in the door that will allow smoke to spread through
  • Intumescent seals and smoke seals that have been damaged or removed and not replaced
  • Damage around the edges of the door where trollies and sack carts etc have been pushed through, leaving gaps around the edges
  • Fire doors have been completely removed.

If you’d like to take the first steps to make sure your doors are compliant, get in touch today! Click that ’email us’ link at the top of this page!

What will change with the new Manslaughter Definitive Guidelines?

On 31st July, the Sentencing Council published new guidance on sentencing for manslaughter cases. The new guidelines will be retrospective, meaning they will apply to any gross negligence manslaughter cases not concluded before the 1st November deadline.

So why is this important to you?

Gross Negligence Manslaughter, where the breach of duty of care by an individual causes or significantly contributes to a death, is the most serious offence that an individual can commit for a health and safety breach. The new sentence guidelines show just how serious the consequences can be. It’s important that your business has the tools in place to avoid such action being taken against you, or your employees.

The guidelines propose four levels of culpability ranging from ‘low’ to ‘very high’, but all of which will result in some form of gaol time. For the lowest level of culpability, culprits can expect a two year sentence, but this moves up to 8 or 12 years very quickly if a judge determines that new flashpoint features such as cost saving and disregarding very high risk of death, are met.

How is culpability decided?

As previously stated, there are a number of flashpoints, or contributing factors that determine an individual’s culpability. For the most part, these are determined based on the level of the negligence, such as if more than one life was put at risk, or that warning were not adhered to.

A high culpability would meet a number of those factors and would result in a gaol term of over ten years. The most common factors are cost saving as a motivation for the breach, and blatant disregard for risk of death. Typically, if either of those two factors aren’t met, the culpability would be considered medium at most. This just shows how important it is that thorough checks are committed and that all risk warnings are actioned.

It is difficult to foresee what a judge would regard as ‘blatant’ disregard, so our advice would be that any disregard could fall into that category.

In cases where the culpability is considered ‘very high’, both cost saving and high disregard for death will be found. Sentences for this level of culpability range from 10 to 18 years.

Very high culpability cases range in type and scenario. Consider the case of Indian takeaway shop owner, Mohammed Zaman of Huntington, who was found guilty of the manslaughter of customer, Paul Wilson, after he had replaced almond powder with ground nut mix as part of a cost cutting exercise. Zaman showed a blatant disregard for the safety of his customers by showing a ‘no-nuts’ message in his menu. He also triggered the cost saving factor.

Another very recent and high profile case is that of Grenfell Tower. The investigation is still ongoing, but it is very possible gross negligence manslaughter sentences will be considered, given the repeated ignored warnings that the tower wasn’t safe, and the cost saving on the cladding.

Risk Management

We asked our Risk Director, Jane Dronsfield, what impact she thought the new guidelines would have:

“Following implementation of the Guidelines, we expect a rise in the sentences handed down in manslaughter cases, with lengthier, custodial sentences and fewer suspended sentences. The old guidelines allowed for a much higher degree of judiciary discretion, whereas the new guidelines seek to create a framework taking into account the culpability of the offender. Culpability categories are defined with reference to a number of factors set out within the Guidelines. Whilst a number of the factors would not necessarily be relevant in the context of workplace deaths, there are many factors that are common within many of the cases we see, which could potentially push offenders up through the category ranges. One example would be where the offender showed a blatant disregard for a very high risk of death resulting from negligent conduct and the negligent conduct was motivated by financial gain (or avoidance of cost).

We have seen a sharp increase in the number of individuals being prosecuted for health and safety related offences.

Gross Negligence Manslaughter is not just an offence that can be directed towards senior management in a business following a workplace death; any person can be implicated.”

If you’d like to speak to Jane, or any of our fantastic risk management department about how you can stay on top of your risk management, use the contact form on the top of this page. Remember, in gross negligence cases, inaction is a crime.

Contractors Professional Indemnity- when to notify your broker and insurer of a potential issue?

In the latest of our series of insurance opinion articles by our Claims Director, Jody Thirkell, he discusses when you should notify your broker and insurer of a potential issue.

As a specialist in contractors’ insurance we are well aware that things often go wrong on construction projects. But when should you notify your Broker and Insurer that you have a problem?

Your professional indemnity insurance will likely be arranged on a claims made basis. This means the insurer on cover at the time the claim is made is the insurer who deals with the claim, not the one on cover when the problem first arose. Your policy will also likely contain a condition that requires you to notify ‘any circumstance that may give rise to a claim’ and this is where it can get tricky!

What exactly is a ‘circumstance’ in this context? Your insurer is unlikely to want to be bombarded with notifications for every snagging issue you encounter on site but on the flip side would certainly want to know from the outset if there is a fundamental flaw with the design of the building, or part of it. However it is what lies in between these extremes that often causes a problem.

If you are aware of an issue and choose not to disclose it and that issue manifests itself in a claim in the future, your insurer could well have the right to decline the claim for non-disclosure, particularly if the policy has gone through a renewal or you have changed insurer.

What, then, is the solution? At Romero we will speak to the insurer when cover is being placed and ensure that we are very clear on what the underwriters would expect to be notified and what they wouldn’t.  We then convey this to our client in clear terms. If all parties are aware of what is expected and everyone complies, it becomes much less likely that a claim will run into difficulties when they do arise.

As always, communication is the key!

If you’d like to speak to Jody about anything you’ve read in this, or any other of his articles, send us a message and we’ll put you in touch! You can do so via our Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn accounts!

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.