Certain changes to personal injury law have taken effect from April 2020. This will result in a reduction in compensation claims and will make receiving legal representation harder for claim victims. Find out if you are affected.
With the introduction of the Civil Liability Act 2018, only small courts are now authorised to handle personal injury claims, except:
Before the changes, the limit to general damages remained £1,000. However, only very minor injuries such as bruises, short-term whiplash, and cuts fall under the small claims category.
Following the reform, several other serious injuries, such as some scarring, fractures, and other injuries that may require up to a year to completely heal, are now included under the small claim limit.
Due to the small nature of the compensation, solicitors are typically unable to recoup the cost of their legal fees from the defendant, even if they win the case.
Therefore, most solicitors pass on the chance of representing defendants in a small claims court. Essentially, defendants will struggle to get legal representation for compensation for a small claim.
Very likely. Generally, you will find it hard to convince a solicitor to take up a personal injury case that is estimated to be worth below £,5000 on a no-win-no-fee basis, as they will deem the case ‘low-quantum'.
Maybe or Maybe not. Basically, low-value claims are straightforward. Also, there are plans to take the legal proceedings online, where the services of a solicitor will not be needed. Besides, a low-value claim doesn’t imply an easy case. Similarly, in personal injury law, some high-value claims can be straightforward and low-value complex.
You may handle your claim proceedings on your own, if:
On the other hand, if any of the listed factors change, the case may become more complex as it progresses (i.e., where there is new evidence, you sustained injury worsens, or the defendant disagrees with your claim), and you may find that you lack the legal skill to proceed. This can imply:
At the very worst, unforeseen complications can make you lose your case.
The compensation liable to soft tissue injury victims (including whiplash) arising from road accidents will be significantly slashed.
What Falls Under A ‘Whiplash Claim’?
According to The Ministry of Justice (MOJ), a whiplash claim is:
Soft tissue RTA claims are now under a revised tariff system where the injury takes no longer than two years to heal.
Under this new tariff, the payable compensation amount to soft tissue injury victims for pain, loss of amenity or suffering, will be significantly less than it used to.
Source: Legal Futures.
Yes. Vulnerable road users such as cyclists, pedestrians, and motorcyclists are excluded from this change.
Similarly, passengers (except children as they fall under ‘protected parties’) are included in this change.
Despite obvious instances and coverage to the contrary, the government’s research and other independent studies have concluded that there are hardly any cases of whiplash fraud. In the same vein, some studies based on older data have refused to acknowledge the apparent decrease in whiplash claims that have happened recently, in light of reforms established in 2013.
Prior to these changes, the UK already had one of the lowest compensation levels in Europe.
Supposedly, the government claims that the reform was enacted to stop fraudulent claims. Exploring the real reason behind these enacted changes will not be discussed in this article, however, several other sources have addressed the subject in detail.
We strongly think that this new reform will leave people with valid claims, vulnerable to under-compensation. Tellingly, many could be denied access to justice.
Compensation serves the main purpose of helping to restore the original lives (or as close as possible) that the person had before the incident occurred as well as covering any treatment or loss sustained within that period. Without compensation, people risk not having the means to take care of both themselves and their families.
Most people will likely not be open to the possibility of representing themselves in a small claims court. Most claimants usually don’t want to be actively engaged in the process.
The new tariffs apply to every personal injury claim filed from April 2020, and not the date the accident happened.
So, it is strongly recommended that you submit your claim as soon as possible. The current start date is April 2020, but it may be subject to change.
Feel free to contact us. We will be glad to provide additional information regarding how the 2020 changes may affect your personal injury claim.
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