Government announces whiplash changes

The Ministry of Justice (MOJ) recently published the response to its whiplash claims consultation, which was launched to crack down on the soaring number of whiplash claims in the last decade. This increase in whiplash claims has pushed up insurance premiums for average road users, exacerbated by high numbers of fraudulent or exaggerated claims.

The consultation proposed removing the right to compensation or capping the claim amount for minor whiplash injuries. Limiting the compensation would see the average pay-out reduced from £1,850 to a maximum of £425 (MOJ). Other proposed changes included a tariff system of compensation payments for more significant injuries, a raised limit for cases in small claims courts and a ban on offering to settle claims without medical evidence.

Ministers have now considered this consultation and part one of their response has been published, featuring a number of important decisions. These include:

  • The introduction of a tariff of fixed compensation for claims based on injury duration between 0 and 24 months
  • Allow judges to decrease tariff awards in cases where there is evidence of contributory negligence, and also to increase the award (up to 20%) in exceptional cases
  • The introduction of a ban on offering to request to settle claims without medical evidence
  • An increase in the small claims limit – for RTA-related personal injury claims to £5,000, and for all other types of personal injury to £2,000.

The second part of the Government’s response will be published in due course.