The UK Government is to introduce whiplash reforms in April 2019. A representative of the Motor Accident Solicitors Society (MASS) has advised that government ministers have decided that they will initially focus on introducing changes related to road traffic accident (RTA) claims.
Further personal injury reforms are likely to be introduced at a later date. All of these reforms will be implemented through the Civil Liability Bill which is yet to be published.
New reforms are also expected to come into place to set a £5,000.00 limit for road traffic accident claims. This means that any injuries valued at less than £5,000.00 are likely to be dealt with in the small claims court. Inevitably this will mean that claimants will be representing themselves in respect of the lower valued claims as solicitor’s fees will not be paid under the new regime.
Simon Stanfield of MASS has announced that they will fight the proposed whiplash reforms. Other solicitors acting for injured parties have expressed their concerns about the new scheme. Our own Joanne Copeland from Poole Townsend Solicitors said, “this is yet another example of innocent victims of road traffic accidents being denied access to justice. Insurers and their representatives are very adept at dealing with such claims, whilst accident victims will have no experience or knowledge of how best to proceed with an accident claim. Inevitably, I feel that the only parties who stand to gain from these reforms are motor insurers. It will be interesting to see whether the so called savings made in not having to pay solicitor’s costs will lead to a reduction in motor insurance premiums. I am following news on the reforms with great interest.”
In any event, it does seem unlikely that the government will meet its 2019 target, as the new bill has yet to be published.
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