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The new whiplash reforms: A 7-point whip-around of key changes - Paul Erdunast, Temple Garden Chambers

18/06/21. The whiplash reforms came into force on 31 May 2021. They apply to all accidents that occurred on or after this date. They institute a wide-ranging sweep of changes that have the cumulative effect of making whiplash claims much less valuable, both in terms of damages and in relation to costs. It really is a sea-change. Providing a full assessment of the new system would take up far more words than I have (see: the 102-page RTA Small Claims Protocol). What I will do instead is give the reader seven key points to take away from the whiplash reforms and the new portal system it creates.

Key features of the whiplash reforms

1. Lower tariffs for PSLA

There are now statutory tariffs set by the Whiplash Regulations 2021 for all whiplash claims of less than 24 months. These are much less generous than the equivalent categories in the Judicial College Guidelines.

For example, a 9-12 month whiplash injury will allow recovery of £1,320 (or £1,390 if there is a minor psychological issue as well). Under the Judicial College Guidelines a Claimant could expect at least £3,000 and hope for up to £4,080. The same observation goes to injuries that last for a shorter or longer time: those lasting no more than three months are valued at £240 (£260 if there is a minor psychological issue), whereas the Judicial College Guidelines allow up to £2,300 for such cases; and injuries lasting 18-24 months are compensated by £4,215 (£4,345 with a minor psychological issue), whereas a Claimant could expect somewhere between £5,000 and £7,410 under the Judicial College Guidelines.

There will be test cases in the near future on how courts should assess ‘mixed’ claims where there are multiple injuries, only one of which is whiplash.

2. A new ‘RTA Small Claims Protocol’ with a higher limit for PSLA

The new RTA Small Claims Protocol applies to all RTAs which occurred on or after 31 May 2021 and where the claim for damages for injury is valued up to £5,000. This neatly covers all whiplash claims up to two years in length that fall under the Whiplash Regulations.

There is, in addition, a new...

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