Understanding the future of whiplash claims


In December 2012 Chris Grayling (Justice Secretary) publicised new measures for reducing the number of whiplash claims. One of the key proposals to these measures is that the small claims limit be increased from £1000 to £5000.
So what does this mean for you?
Let’s take a simple road accident as an example; you are waiting at a red traffic light when a driver, who is not paying attention, slams into the rear of your car. Your car is un-drivable and you need a hire car whilst yours is off the road. In addition, you suffer an injury to your neck and are off work and lose pay as a result. The injury is quite severe and causes you problems, possibly for up to two years.
It is only fair that you recover any financial losses you have incurred (repair charges, loss of earning etc.). It is also only fair that you receive compensation for the pain and suffering and disruption to your lifestyle.
Would you be happy dealing with the claim yourself and negotiating with the insurance company?
What happens if the insurance company disputed any part of your claim, would you feel comfortable taking the case to court against an experienced insurance company? Don’t forget they will also have their lawyers to represent them.
Or would you feel more comfortable knowing that an expert and independent solicitor was representing you?
Under the current process if your injury claim is worth more than £1,000, the other party’s insurance company have to meet your legal costs in full if your claim is successful.
Under the proposed new system your injury must be worth more than £5,000 for the insurers to meet your legal costs and the above example would be caught under the new proposals i.e. your legal costs would NOT be paid by the insurers leaving you to either fight the claim on your own or pay the legal costs from your compensation.
The government suggest that this new cap on small claims will reduce overall claims for personal injury which in turn will reduce the number of fraudulent claims and, therefore, ensure savings for motorists through reduced insurance premiums.
The Motor Accident Solicitors Society has proposed a raft of reforms which would  go a long way to achieving the aims of the government without denying our injured driver access to justice. These can be seen by downloading the PDF below.

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