What is a whiplash claim?
The NHS website defines whiplash as “a neck injury caused by a sudden movement of the head.”
In terms of compensation, the word whiplash has an expanded meaning. For the purposes of making a claim for compensation, a whiplash injury is defined as an injury of soft tissue in the neck, back, or shoulder, including a sprain, strain, tear, rupture or lesser damage of a muscle, tendon, or ligament in the neck, back, or shoulder, or a soft tissue injury associated with a muscle, tendon, or ligament in the neck, back, or shoulder.
If you have been the occupant of a vehicle, as a driver or passenger, and have suffered an injury as a result of another person’s negligence, you can make a claim, however the rules are different according to whether you are a driver or passenger, or if you are a vulnerable road user such as a cyclist or pedestrian.
The new Whiplash Reforms
The Whiplash Reforms implemented on 31 May 2021 apply only to accidents which occurred after that date.
The claims process if you were the adult occupant of a vehicle, as driver or passenger and have suffered whiplash:
If you suffered a whiplash injury and were the occupant of a vehicle, your accident occurred after 31 May 2021, and you are over 18, you will usually have to use the Official Injuries Claims (IOC) Portal to pursue your claim. The OIC is a service run by the Motor Insurers’ Bureau [MIB] on behalf of the Ministry of Justice and can be used by individuals to settle their own personal injury claims if your claim for injury is limited to a value of less than £10,000.
If your claim for injury is worth more than £5,000 or your whole claim is worth more than £10,000 then the claim should not be brought via the OIC portal. The OIC portal can be accessed here.
The claims process if you were not the occupant of a vehicle, but rather a pedestrian, cyclist, motorcyclist, or horse rider:
If you were not travelling by car, van, or lorry at the time of a collision, you can still claim damages and do not have to use the OIC portal. To recover solicitors cost’s, your injuries must be valued at more than £1000. We are happy to speak with you to advise whether it would be worthwhile you instructing a solicitor in these circumstances.
When are you not able to use the OIC Portal?
- If your injury claim is worth more than £5000, or with other damages your claim is worth more than £10,000
- You are a child or a patient who lacks capacity to conduct proceedings
- You were not inside a vehicle (i.e. a motorcyclist, cyclist, or a pedestrian
- Your claim is against an untraced driver
- Either you or the Defendant are the personal representative of a deceased person
- You are bankrupt
- The Defendant’s vehicle is registered outside the UK
If you fit into any of these exceptions, please contact us on 01244 312306.
Can we help if your must be brought via the OIC Portal?
Unfortunately, we do not represent adult clients if they are the occupant of a motor vehicle excluding a motorbike and their claim is likely to be worth under £5,000 and you are not excluded from a small class of people who must use the OIC portal. New legislation has set tariffs for whiplash injuries and minor psychological injuries, and this means symptoms of pain and suffering following a whiplash injury would have to be ongoing for 2 years for the claim to be valued at over £5,000 for many, subject to a few exceptions.
If your claim is worth less than £5,000 for the injury alone, then you will not be entitled to recover your solicitor’s costs. If you fall into this category, we suggest that you check whether you have any legal expenses insurance attached to your motor policy, bank insurance, or home contents insurance, or are a member of a union and may have a legal product that covers representation for these sorts of accidents. Alternatively, you can make a claim yourself by submitting your claim on the OIC Portal.
The set tariffs for whiplash compensation if you are an occupant of a motor vehicle
If you are the occupant of a motor vehicle and have suffered whiplash injury alone to your neck, back, or shoulder, the valuation of the damages claim for personal injury will be determined by reference to a whiplash only tariff which has been set by legislation. The process guides you through being examined by a medical expert who will confirm in the report the injuries you have suffered and how long you will suffer for. You can then consider the tariffs set.
If you have also suffered minor psychological injury there is an additional award for this type of damage.
If your injuries are exceptional then you may be entitled to an uplift of 20% on the tariff sum, however in most cases you will not be awarded this.
If you have injured other parts of your body in addition to the whiplash injury, then that tariff will not apply to your other injuries. The valuation of your non-whiplash damages for these injuries will be dealt with in line with the Judicial College Guidelines, which will give you an indication of the likely value of these injuries.
In addition to the damages claimable for injury, you can also make a claim for your out-of-pocket expenses incurred such as loss of earnings or property damage.
The tariffs are as follows:
|Duration of injury||Whiplash injury only||Whiplash and minor psychological injury|
Can I claim my solicitor’s costs?
If you have been injured as the occupant of a vehicle, excluding a motorcycle, it may be worthwhile instructing us if the value of your injury claim is worth in excess of £5,000 for the injury alone, or £10,000 for all your losses. If you think that the value of your claim may exceed this amount, then please contact us on 01244 312306.
If you are a cyclist, motorcyclist or a pedestrian, your injury claim only has to be worth over £1000 to be able to claim your solicitors costs and and we may be able to assist you. Please call us for further advice on 01244 312306.
If you were under 18 at the time of the accident, the whiplash tariff will apply, but you will be entitled to claim solicitor’s costs if your claim is worth in excess of £1,000 for the injury. Please contact us for further advice.
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