The Ministry of Justice has, today (23 February 2017), published part one of its response to the ‘Reforming the soft tissue injury (‘whiplash’) claims process’ consultation which closed on 6 January 2017. Ministers have considered and made a number of policy decisions, including:
the introduction of a tariff of fixed compensation for pain, suffering and loss of amenity for claims with an injury duration of between 0 and 24 months;
providing the judiciary with the facility to both decrease the amount awarded under the tariff in cases where there may be contributory negligence or to increase the award (with increases capped at no more than 20%) in exceptional circumstances;
introducing a ban on both the offering and requesting of offers to settle claims without medical evidence;
increasing the small claims limit for RTA related personal injury claims to £5,000; and
Increasing the small claims limit for all other types of personal injury claim to £2,000.
Measures 1 to 3 above will be introduced through provisions in the Prisons and Courts Bill. Measures 4 and 5 will be introduced through secondary legislative procedures, and it is the Government’s intention to implement these reforms as a package. Part two of the Government response will be published in due course.
The government is bringing forward a package of measures to disincentivise minor, exaggerated and fraudulent road traffic accident related soft-tissue injury claims.
The vast majority of these claims are known as whiplash claims.
Despite previous government reforms, improvements in vehicle safety and a reduction in the number of reported accidents, the number of personal injury claims following a road traffic accident remains 50% higher than in 2006. This has led to higher car insurance premiums for motorists.
The government is determined to tackle the number and cost of these claims. Two reforms were announced in the 2015 Autumn Statement.
The government has now launched a consultation on the detail of these and two additional measures.
Responses are welcomed from all interested stakeholders.