The government have announced that it will increase the small claims limit for non-RTA cases to £1,500 ahead of the whiplash reforms. This is a reduction in their initial proposed limit for employer’s liability and public liability claims.
In a statement, justice minister Lord Wolfson of Tredegar said that the government had opted not to increase the small claims limit to £2,000 for employers and public liability claims.
Wolfson said: ‘Delivering this reform remains a key government priority but we believe that a more modest increase in the small claims track limit for non-RTA related claims is justified. He went on to say the government had considered the views of a wide range of representatives from across the insurance, legal and trade union sectors and decided to increase the limit to £1,500. He also confirmed that implementation of the new limit will be deferred to April 2022.
‘Pausing its implementation for 12 months will enable greater focus to be placed on the commencement of the whiplash reforms and the launch of the new Official Injury Claim service for claimants on 31 May 2021.’
The Whiplash Reforms: What We Know So Far
This change had been provided for in part one of the Civil Liability Act 2018, the legislation underpinning the new £5,000 small claims track limit for RTA claims, which comes into force at the end of May.
Both houses of parliament are this week to debate the proposed tariffs for whiplash damages after 31 May, with implementation expected to be a formality.
The whiplash injury regulations set limits on the damages payable for a whiplash injury of up to two years and include any minor psychological injury suffered at the same time. The regulations also allow courts to apply an uplift of 20% in exceptional circumstances.
The reforms to the small claims limit are likely to have a big impact on the RTA market. It is possibly another blow to the claims market as whole, which has already been impacted heavily by previous reforms. The unfortunate side to these changes is the affect this will have on genuine claimants who will find it difficult to find legal representation for smaller value cases. The aim is to limit the amount of whiplash claims we see in the market; however, it will also have a knock-on effect to claims involving more serious injuries such as broken bones and damage to ligaments because of RTAs.
How We Are Preparing
Here at mmadigital, our consumer-facing brand The Compensation Experts have always placed a heavier focus on other types of personal injury such as employer’s liability. We have deliberately set out to ensure the law firms we work with receive the highest quality cases with larger compensation values attached. RTA cases make up a small percentage of the cases we deal with, and of the RTA cases we generate, only a very small percentage are whiplash claims.
Furthermore, we have been preparing for the reforms for over 18 months. The whiplash cases we currently deal with are natural residual cases from the number of cases we take on. Ultimately, this means that we have prepared for the reforms to make sure we are still sending our panel of legal firms the best cases possible.
If this sounds like something that can benefit your law firm, contact us today to arrange a demonstration of our lead generation platform.