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The Whiplash Reform Programme – do injured motorists deserve better?

Posted on October 19th 2020

Man suffering from whiplash following a car accident

What is the Whiplash Reform Programme?

The Whiplash Reform Programme (WRP) has been introduced by the government to tackle the large number and high cost of whiplash claims within the UK. The government has been working closely with the Motor Insurer’s Bureau, alongside other representatives for claimants and defendants, to work towards building a new Official Injury Claim Service. The WRP was due to come into effect on 1 August 2020 however, due to the Covid-19 pandemic having a significant impact on insurance, medical and legal sectors, the implementation of the WRP has been delayed to April 2021.

What does it mean for victims?

Under the WRP, the government is increasing the small claims track limit for road traffic accident injury claims to £5,000. They are also introducing a fixed tariff of damages for loss, pain and suffering for whiplash injuries caused by road traffic accidents. They are also initiating a ban on the offers to settle a whiplash claim without instructing a medical professional to produce a medical report.

The government has announced that they will continue to monitor developments with the current pandemic and will make further announcements relating to the implementation of the WRP if necessary.

What does it mean for insurers?

As it currently stands, motor insurers accept liability for damages in the large majority of whiplash claims. However, the government recognises that there will be occasions when insurers do not accept liability. In these situations, claimants will therefore need to be able to resolve liability disputes.

Criticism?

The WRP has received criticism from personal injury lawyers, who believe the programme confirms the Government’s contempt for injured motorists. This new process leaves no facility to enable victims to question what the insurer says happened at the collision, which party is at fault, and how much compensation is fair in the circumstances.

The small claims court is also not a “court” as most lay persons would assume, as it involves completing forms and paying a fee before the matter even gets started. The claimant will be funding such fee out of their own pocket, with the insurers pursuing their claim with legal representation.

How can Oliver & Co help?

The changes that will come with the implementation of the WRP may impede your access to justice, which could result in a slower recovery from your injury if medical advice is not sought, without the financial recompense that you deserve.

If you have been injured in a car accident, that was not your fault, and sustained an injury as a result then please contact us on 01244 312306 for advice on making a claim.

 

Sources:

https://www.apil.org.uk/press-release/Injured-motorists-deserve-better-than-new-whiplash-system

https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-statements/detail/2020-02-27/HCWS133

https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/update-on-the-implementation-of-the-whiplash-reform-programme

 

Call and speak to a lawyer on 01244 312306