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Our Guide to the Small Claims Reforms

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In today’s Queen’s Speech, it was confirmed that the government intends to continue with its plans to reform the personal injury claims process. The Civil Liability Bill set out proposals including the introduction of a new fixed tariff of compensation for soft tissue (‘whiplash’) injuries and an increase the small claims limit for these injuries from £1,000 to £5,000.

Aim of the reforms

The government wants to disincentivise minor, exaggerated and fraudulent road traffic accident-related soft tissue injury claims. Although it is said that the new reform is intended to tackle the rise of minor, exaggerated and fraudulent ‘whiplash’ claims, according to the ABI, fraudulent claims only account for 0.25% of motor accident claims, making these measures totally disproportionate.

What are the reforms?

The proposed introduction of the Small Claims (soft tissue) reforms in October 2018 will see road users’ right to compensation cut dramatically as the small claims limit for RTA-related soft tissue injury claims rises from £1,000 to £5,000.

Under the new reforms, any personal injuries resulting from accidents on the road worth less than £5,000, including whiplash and broken bones, will now have to go through the small claims court process. This means that claimants will not be able to recover any of their legal costs even if their claim is successful.

The rise in the limit is made even more challenging by the introduction of a ‘whiplash claims and minor psychological claims tariff’– with the new levels of compensation being significantly lower than the current payments awarded.

How will this affect me if I want to make a claim?

If you are injured on the road and you were not at fault, currently, it is common practice for road traffic victims to employ a personal injury lawyer on a ‘no win, no fee’ basis. At Jefferies, our solicitors work on your claim on your behalf and deal with all legal matters, from applying the laws of liability and causation to your case, to instructing a medical expert. If successful, our legal fees are recovered from the other side.

Under the new reforms, any personal injuries resulting from accidents on the road worth less than £5,000, including whiplash and broken bones, will now have to go through the small claims court process. This means that claimants will not be able to recover any of their legal costs even if their claim is successful.

How much will I be able to claim?

The Government proposes to reduce the compensation for injury for other Road Traffic Accident claims by introducing a tariff of compensation for whiplash and minor claims involving an injury lasting up to 24 months.

Claimants will see their compensation levels halved, as with the reforms comes a new tariff system imposed for all soft-tissue (whiplash) injuries.

INJURY DURATION AVERAGE AMOUNT PAID PROPOSED NEW TARIFF
0-3 Months £1,750 £225
4-6 Months £2,150 £450
7-9 Months £2,600 £765
13-15 Months £3,500 £1,190
16-18 Months £3,950 £2,660
19-24 Months £4,500 £3,725

Published on 21st June 2017.