In October 2015 the then Chancellor George Osbourne announced an intention to “ban whiplash claims” due to perceived consumer harm from their impact on motor insurance premiums. The aim was to de-incentivise whiplash claims, deter fraud, and reduce motor insurance premiums.
These reforms come into force on 31 May 2021 and apply to low value RTA whiplash claims occurring on or after 31 May 2021.
What the changes are:
Qualifying claims will be pursued via a new online portal – the Official Injury Claims portal (OIC). Claimants will access and manage their claim through the OIC and insurers will have 30 days to make a liability decision.
There is no ‘ban’ on RTA whiplash claims but the reforms do ban offers on qualifying whiplash claims without medical evidence. The introduction of tariff damages (for injuries up to 24 months duration) will reduce compensation and the cost of these claims.
There will be two tariffs – one for whiplash only, and a second for whiplash plus “minor psychological injury” (yet to be defined):
A “whiplash injury” has been formally defined. We’ve assessed the applicable scope of the change to be approximately 80% of current RTA injury claims.
The Small Claims Track limit for RTA injury claims will increase from £1,000 to £5,000 (subject to certain exemptions), meaning legal costs are no longer payable on claims up to the value of £5,000, and therefore ought to be less attractive to fraudsters, claimant solicitors and claims management companies.
The Small Claims Track limit for EL/PL injury claims (currently £1,000) won’t change at this time, but Government has indicated it will increase to £1,500 from April 2022.