01482 778 463
Client Focussed
No Win No Fee
Specialist Legal Teams
Hudgell Solicitors™ | Latest News | Why the April 2020 whiplash claims law is impacting on injured people now

Why the April 2020 whiplash claims law is impacting on injured people now



If you’ve ever been involved in a road traffic accident and suffered whiplash as a result, you will know it is a genuine injury which can cause severe pain and potentially have a long-term impact on your health.

However, whilst there has quite rightly been a clampdown on a minority of cases in which injuries are exaggerated, negative media has sadly created an unfair stigma around seeking damages in such cases.

It is also anticipated that new Government reforms, which are set to come into force in April 2020 and will see many have to handle their claims without legal support,  could prevent more genuinely injured people from seeking the compensation they deserve.

It means that time is quickly running to make a whiplash compensation claim with the experience of an expert lawyer at your side.

What changes are happening?

The Government is committed to increasing the Small Claims Court threshold from £1,000 to £5,000 for Road Traffic Accident claims – including whiplash – as part of its Civil Liability Act reforms.

From April 2020, anyone injured in an RTA will not be able to instruct a lawyer to make a claim of £5,000 or less.  For other personal injuries, the threshold will rise to £2,000 from £1,000.

We believe these changes are likely to impede access to justice as people genuinely injured may feel the process is to complicated or daunting, resulting in them battling on without medical assessment and appropriate treatment, and without financial recompense.

These are changes we have campaigned against at Hudgell Solicitors, and it is why we are urging people genuinely injured as a result of road traffic accidents to come forward immediately.

This will ensure claims can be submitted by experienced lawyers ahead of the law changes in April 2020.

Having helped thousands of people to successfully secure damages for their pain and suffering over the past two decades, we know it can help cover the cost of crucial physiotherapy to aid recovery, recover loss of earnings from time taken off work and compensate for injuries suffered.

What will be the impact on genuine whiplash victims?

The Government believe that increasing the threshold will help to confine more low-value claims to the Small Claims Court, where solicitors’ costs are not recoverable.

In theory, this has been done to help reduce the number of potentially fraudulent claims being made for whiplash-type injuries.

As things currently stand, there will be two claims ‘portals’ for people to use from April 2020 – one for whiplash claims below £5,000 and one for all other claims.

People injured in an RTA will have to instigate and navigate the complex claims process on their own WITHOUT a legal representative – through no choice of their own.

Whiplash claims are unlikely to be accepted without medical evidence, so from April 2020, a whiplash victim may have to:

  • Submit the initial case proceedings using an online portal
  • Instruct their own medical expert to diagnose their injuries
  • Pay £180 for a medical report if the other party denies liability
  • Accept or reject (and possibly appeal) their compensation offer

 

What are the main concerns about the system?

At Hudgell Solicitors, we’d like to see the Government put safeguarding measures in place to prevent people being bewildered by the new portal system.

How can it be justified if a situation arises where those who qualify for smaller sums do not bother because the process puts them off making a claim?

The issue of who will pay the fixed £180 cost for a medical report also needs clarity.

If someone is injured in road traffic accident, they may not have the finances to pay this fee up front and may choose simply not to pursue a claim.

This would only prevent justice being served, and could also lead to any physical injuries which need treatment worsening over subsequent years – at a greater collective cost to the NHS over time!

Under the current proposals, an insurer simply needs to deny liability to put the claimant under financial pressure, increasing the chances of them giving up on making a claim.

The Association of Personal Injury Lawyers has called for medical reports to be free for all injured people, regardless of whether liability is admitted.

Proposals have also been put forward for the wrongdoer to pay the upfront cost of the medical report when liability is admitted or partially admitted.

Unfortunately, unrepresented claimants are unlikely to feel confident in the justice system when faced with experienced defendant lawyers, bankrolled by large insurance companies.

Should a situation arise where insurers put pressure on a claimant to under-settle, if they agree to do so before a thorough injury assessment has been conducted, the whole process could also begin to feel rather unethical.

Sadly, this could be a situation faced by many in less than a year.

Who will fill the void left by solicitors?

When the new reforms are implemented in April 2020, it is predicted that a new wave of claims management companies (CMC) could be established to deal with what is essentially low-value legal work.

Should a claimant put their faith in the hands of a CMC or any other representative without legal qualifications, they may end up paying to receive advice which is not as legally sound as it would have been from a qualified solicitor.

Will the rules be the same for under-18s?

‘Vulnerable’ road users have already been excluded from the new laws, but there is a lack of detail about whether children will be too.

Unfortunately, this uncertainty means it’s still not known how a claim will be brought on behalf of a minor and who would be expected to do it.

What does it mean for people with whiplash injuries now?

If you’ve suffered a whiplash-type injury in the last three years, we would urge you to take legal action immediately to avoid getting caught up in the new whiplash claims law change.

It is now less than a year before these proposed changes will be implemented.

During this time, the Government could still make changes to the proposals – and bring more clarity about how the regime will work.

But make no mistake, the changes are likely to complicate the whiplash claims procedure – and could make it harder to get compensation.

For advice about the best way to claim, please get in touch – our expert RTA team will be happy to assess the strength of your case for free.

No Comments

Leave a Reply

*Required

The Author

author image

Jane Woodcock

Senior Legal Executive and Head of Personal Injury

jw@hudgellsolicitors.co.uk

Request a callback

Request A Callback

I am an existing client.










Or call us FREE on:

01482 778 463


trust pilottrustpilot startrustpilot startrustpilot startrustpilot startrustpilot star

The data you submit will only be used by Hudgell Solicitors in accordance with our privacy policy.
See full privacy policy.

Looking to see if you're eligible?

Get in touch for free legal advice

0808 159 7699

Call today to speak to an expert

OR
Start your claim

What Our Clients Think

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

Efficient

"Quick, efficient service provided by Jayne Woodock. Would definitely contact Hudgell Solicitors again in the… "

Kerry

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

Thank you

"I have never had to go down the route of claiming for anything like this… "

Zoe

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

No problems from start to finish for my…

"No problems from start to finish for my claim.Kept updated regularly and a good outcome… "

r3monkey

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

Excellent

"Very professional,efficient service,informative and friendly service. I would highly recommend Hudgell solicitors."

Helen

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

Good experience

"Good experience"

Margaret Elizabeth

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

Excellent

"Friendly, helpful and professional."

M J J

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

I would recommend this firm of…solicitor to anyone

"I would recommend this firm of solicitor to anyone I have had a 5 star… "

Jimmy Mc

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

Very helpful and thorough

"Very helpful and thorough. The team kept me updated throughout. Thank you"

Esme

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

Couldn’t fault Hudgell Solicitors.

"Couldn’t fault Hudgell Solicitors. They were professional, pleasant informative and helpful and got a result… "

Vic.

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

Case still ongoing

"Case still ongoing, excellent communication between myself and solicitor.. 🤞🏻 for good outcome"

Quantity

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

Excellent and fast

"Excellent and fast. I won’t go anywhere else from now on"

Aimee

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

Very helpful

"Listened too, great advice and feel rejuvenated by their response. Really helpful feedback and will… "

Mr Procter

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

Great Service

"Hudgell Solicitors dealt with my case very quickly and effectively. The contact and communication was… "

Tracy

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

Fantastic service

"Fantastic service, on the ball with everything and good outcome"

Hayley coleman

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

Very professional

"Very professional, took all the stress off my hands and very pleasant to deal with.… "

Steve

Rated 8.5 out of 10 based on 494 reviews

Powered by Trustpilot

Our offices

London

55 Fleet Street
EC4Y 1JU
DX 437 Chancery Lane
SRA No. 607141

VIEW DETAILS

Hull

No 2 @ The Dock
46 Humber Street
HU1 1TU
DX 11923 Hull
SRA no. 521372

VIEW DETAILS

Leeds

10 Park Place
Leeds
LS1 2RU
DX 744770 Leeds 19
SRA No. 544561

VIEW DETAILS

Manchester

1 St Peter’s Square
Third Floor
Manchester
M2 3AE
SRA No. 655049

VIEW DETAILS

© 2019 Hudgell Solicitors®. All Rights Reserved.

Hudgell Solicitors is a trading name of Neil Hudgell Limited | Director Dr. Neil Hudgell MA LLB (Hons) LLD | Registered in England No. 7078429 | Authorised and Regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority | SRA No. 521372 | VAT Registration No. 254 7802 90