Whiplash Reforms and How They Affect Your Motor Insurance

The Whiplash Reforms came into effect on 31st May 2021 and were introduced by the Government to change the way that low value personal injury claims following road traffic accidents are managed.

The background

It’s thought that over the last few years, motor premium costs have become far too high and whiplash claims have increased. According to the Association of British Insurers (ABI), more than 1,500 whiplash claims are made in the UK every day, costing the insurance industry in excess of £2 billion a year. As a result, the cost of whiplash claims to policyholders amounts to an average of £90 per policy.

Changes under the Whiplash Reforms

The Civil Liability Act 2018, which contained the reforms, set out new measures to significantly reduce whiplash claims to save motorists money on their insurance costs, as well as reduce fraud.

As part of the Whiplash Reforms:

  • A new fixed tariff of damages for pain, suffering and loss of amenity will be introduced
  • The settlement of claims without a medical assessment will be banned
  • The small claims limit, known as Small Claims Track (SCT), will increase from £1k to £5k. This, therefore, means legal advice will only be paid for road traffic personal injuries above £5k, as it is believed small claims below this are simple and straightforward to settle and don’t require solicitors’ involvement
  • The Official injury Claim portal is being introduced to fall in line with the new SCT limit. From 31st May 2021, individuals injured in a road traffic accident looking to make a claim of up to £5k (to a maximum total of £10k for all losses) will be able to use this free service to claim compensation without legal support

These changes will no doubt impact the way in which road traffic collision claims are dealt with by insurers.

What Do You Need to Do?

Quite simply, you need to notify all motor accidents, however minor, immediately.

Insurers now have 30 working days to decide on liability.   If liability is disputed a Signed Statement of Truth must be obtained from the defendant driver.  If this is not submitted within the 30 day timeframe, liability is automatically admitted.

All supporting evidence must also be uploaded to the OIC portal within this timeframe if liability is disputed.

Supporting evidence could include:

  • Any dashcam, CCTV or video footage or details of where it can be obtained
  • Photographs of the accident scene / damage
  • Any independent witness statements or details of witnesses to be contacted
  • Tachograph or tracker data if available
  • Details of any emergency services that attended, including reference numbers or contact details

I cannot stress enough the importance of reporting any motor incidents.  If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with me.