The British Government’s Ministry of Justice will introduce the whiplash reforms in April 2021. Since the new directions are not published, lawyers need to prepare for the yet unknown changes. Regardless of anything, the personal injury market is likely to become more competitive, and in case the reforms come out as too complicated, lawyers and law firms might seek assistance from outsourcing firms.
Solo, busy lawyers, and law firms can take expert guidance and personal injury litigation support from reliable third-party legal outsourcing firms that keep themselves updated about all reforms done to different laws and regulations. This can be a time-saving and cost-effective approach for all legal service providers.
What Could Be The Impact of Changes in The Personal Injury Law?
The changes will have a direct impact on the amount of compensation the claimants receive. There will be tariffs on some whiplash injuries caused due to road traffic accidents; this will be done to respond to rising fraudulent claims. The small claims limit is likely to increase from £1,000 to £5,000 for road traffic accidents but excluding pedestrians, cyclists, motorcyclists and horse riders.
A new personal injury discount rate will be introduced with regular rate reviews conducted by an expert panel that will be advising the lord chancellor.
The Impact on Legal Professionals and Claimants
Solicitors might not be able to recover their legal fees from the defendants they represent in a small claims court. In legal practice, small claims are generally not as cost-effective for solicitors as large claims. As a result, claimants might face difficulties in getting legal representation for compensation.
In This Case, What Could Be The Solution?
Lower value claims are usually less complicated. The government plans to launch an online process for court proceedings to help people file a claim without hiring a solicitor. However, on any given day, a low-value claim can also involve complex laws, while a high-value claim can be easy and straightforward.
What Would The Future of Personal Injury Look Like?
The increment in the small claims limit may lead to more personal injury cases being processed as small claims. In most cases, claimants will have to pay legal costs on their own, while many will have to represent their cases themselves.
The concern here is that these changes are going to be introduced through regulations but without undergoing thorough parliamentary scrutiny.
The Law Society of England and Wales is in regular correspondence with the Ministry of Justice, giving their opinions and suggestions on this issue.
Tariffs for whiplash injuries – the amount of compensation should not be determined based on the cause of injury. Low tariffs will not provide satisfactory compensation to claimants with whiplash injuries.
The need for insurers to report to parliament about the savings passed to motorists. However, they suggest this norm to be implemented sooner. A ban on offers provided by insurers before the medical examination.
The government should focus on detecting and reducing whiplash claim frauds instead of introducing reforms that will affect genuine claims. Judges should have the power to increase compensation for exceptional cases. With medical experts’ assistance, the government should more clearly define ‘whiplash’ and ‘psychological injury.’ The government should clarify clauses about reasonable steps to be taken to mitigate injury.
Personal Injury Discount Rate
The new rates set by the lord chancellor are based exclusively on the report given by the Government Actuary Department without the involvement of and advice from an expert panel.
Regular review of the personal injury discount rate in order to reflect variable interest rates. The lord chancellor seeking advice from an expert panel for discount rate review in the future.
What Exceptions Are There?
Vulnerable road users, including pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists, will not be affected by the changes. The changes will affect passengers but not children who are considered ‘protected parties.’
The Reasons Behind The Reforms:
Injury compensation levels in the UK are among the lowest in Europe. The government’s reason for reform was to prevent fraudulent personal injury claims. However, independent studies and research done by the government have confirmed that whiplash fraud is very rare.
It is anticipated that the reforms might leave genuine claimants at risk of not getting adequate compensation. As a result, they might not be able to pay for medical costs. Hence, there is an utter need to reconsider the reforms set to be introduced by the British Government in April this year.
Besides, since small claim limits will be increased from £1,000 to £5,000 for road traffic accidents, more injured people will seriously apply for a claim, even those who are usually reluctant or too lazy to seek small-value compensations; moreover, fraudulent claims can also increase, leading to more court cases. This might result in more workload on attorneys. In such a situation, it is recommended to seek professional personal injury litigation support, helping lawyers meet clients’ demands on time.