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Whiplash reforms let public down

by MJV&Co

When the government “consulted” on reforms to whiplash claims, the only people they really listened to were insurance companies.

The number of claims is already on the way down. The last round of reforms have not yet properly taken effect and yet, rather than monitor their success, they have sought to significantly reduce the level of compensation to be paid for whiplash claims and, essentially, eliminate legal costs from the claims altogether.

Insurers have a vested interest in these claims being stamped out. They have already backtracked on the amount of saving that can be expected for the average motorist and we can safely assume there will be no genuine saving when the reforms are finally implemented.

Anyone who has suffered from whiplash following a road traffic accident will know that it has a serious and detrimental effect on your life. You have reduced sleep and the sleep that you do get is of an inferior quality. It affects your work, your social life and your general well being, which is why the Courts and the Judicial Studies Board have set compensation at the appropriate levels for decades.

A Claimant who suffered a 12 month whiplash injury, using the current scale, would receive up to £3,630 in general damages (personal injury compensation). Following the forthcoming whiplash reforms, the same injured party would receive £1,190.

During the last wave of reforms to the industry, legal costs were reduced and Claimants now normally pay 25% of their personal injury compensation to their solicitor who receives a small amount (comparatively to previous levels anyway) from the insurer of the at fault vehicle. From October 2018, they will receive nothing from the insurer and so costs will be limited to 25% of the compensation received. This will inevitably lead to the closure of dozens of specialist personal injury firms and or claims being run by unqualified staff at Claims Management Companies as happens now with claims for mis-sold PPI.

All we at MJV & Co can hope for is that the government sees sense and retreats from its position on whiplash and personally reforms to ensure that injured members of the public are adequately compensated for the pain and suffering they endure through no fault of their own. Surely this is better for the greater good than increased profits for insurers.