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Whiplash Reform Programme: What This Means

As a taxi driver, you are out on the road every day. While we all prioritise both the safety of ourselves and our passengers when driving, accidents aren’t always preventable. According to this Department for Transport Report, there were 131,220 casualties from road traffic accidents of all severities in the year ending June 2020. That’s around 359 per day!

With these types of accidents often come a surge of whiplash injury claims. What was once a simple legal process has become slightly more complex, with the UK government making changes in legislation titled the Whiplash Reform Programme.

What are the changes?

From the 31st of May 2021, changes in the law have stated that if your whiplash injury claim is worth less than £5,000, you will be unable to recover your legal costs. What this means is that it will become more difficult to have legal representation if claims fall beneath this threshold, as legal costs are the way that solicitors get paid.

Not only this, but there are changes on what can be awarded to the victim. The Government has brought forward limits on damages – looking at pain, suffering, and loss of amenity depending on how long it takes a claimant to recover.

How much can a whiplash injury victim claim?

The government have taken the approach where injury symptoms will be judged on a three-month basis. For example, this starts with a limit of £240 for the pain, suffering, and loss of amenity for whiplash the lasts less than three months. This then goes up in stages for every three extra months of symptoms until you reach £4,215.

In certain circumstances, victims can be awarded an additional 20% where the court has decided that the damages are greater than what the award tariffs would allow. This is known as an uplift.

It’s important to note that if you suffer more than one whiplash injury through the same incident, the injury with the longest recovery period will apply.

How does it all work?

A new portal system has been developed and will host all road traffic accident claims worth less than £5,000. This can be accessed by litigants when required, and claimants must state in their claim form whether they expect to recover more or less than this amount.

The portal has been designed to help victims prepare court claim forms that can be used to issue proceedings at different stages of the process. An example of this outlined by the Government would be a user issuing a claim early on to resolve liability, but then coming back into the portal to continue with their claim.

These type of changes for road traffic accident claims prove to be an important reminder for drivers across the country. Make sure you’re following all best practices, putting safety above everything else, and are properly covered with taxi insurance.

All information is correct at time of publication. Information provided within this article may have changed over time. No responsibility for its accuracy or correctness is assumed by John Patons Insurance Services or any of its employees.