What do the recent changes mean for those injured in road traffic accidents?
The impact of a personal injury can be lifechanging. In many cases, victims are left with emotional and physical trauma that not only impacts them personally, but also professionally.
In such cases where the person who has been affected was injured as a result of someone else’s negligence, they may be entitled to claim for compensation. This provides them with vital funds that can help cover lost wages, pay for rehabilitation and other therapies, fund ongoing care needs and to provide much needed peace of mind for the future.
When the injuries sustained are more serious, and the claim value exceeds £25,000, then it may be wise to appoint a personal injury solicitor who can step in to act in the best interest of the individual and their family.
Changes were made to the claims process back in August 2013, whereby a Claims Portal was introduced with the intention of helping to keep the costs down, and to help speed up the process of making a claim. From that date, all low-value personal injury claims (below £25,000) including road traffic accidents, accidents at work and public liability accidents (i.e. accidents in public places) must start within a Claims Portal.
Furthermore, on May 31st this year, additional changes to the claims process have been introduced that will further impact people who suffer from low-value injuries in road traffic accidents.
Here, our personal injury team explain what the changes mean, and how Banner Jones can help if you or a loved one has sustained an injury.
What are the latest changes?
From 31 May 2021, the personal injury claims process has changed for people who suffer an injury in a road traffic accident (RTA) that are considered ‘low value’, such as soft tissue and whiplash injuries.
That does not mean that the ordeal was not traumatic. It just means that the need for compensation to cover any financial loss or the cost of rehabilitation and ongoing care does not exceed a certain threshold.
The changes will also affect the amount of compensation claimants receive and include:
- tariffs for whiplash injuries that last up to two years from RTAs
- the small claims limit increasing from £1,000 to £5,000 for RTAs not involving vulnerable road-users such as pedestrians, cyclists, motorcyclists and horse riders
- a new online portal called the Official Injury Claim service
The changes do not apply to claims involving children.
Why are these changes taking place?
With around 600,000 RTA claims each year, the insurance industry has claimed that the cost of compensation for low-value whiplash injuries caused by road traffic accidents has increased motor insurance premiums.
In a bid to address this and remove the legal costs from the process for most claims below £5000, the government has introduced a range of measures, underpinned by the Civil Liability Act 2018.
It is hoped that these reforms will reduce premiums for all motorists, whilst ensuring claimants continue to receive proportionate compensation for any injury sustained that has a short- or longer-term impact on their quality of life.
Who can claim through the new portal?
It is really important to stress here that anyone can still claim for an injury sustained regardless of value. However, now that the changes have officially come into force you can claim through the new portal if:
- Your claim is worth less than £5,000
- The total value of the claim (including the personal injury claim) is not more than £10,000
- You are under 18 years of age
- The incident happened on or after May 31st 2021
- The accident happened in England or Wales
- You were a driver or passenger in a vehicle that was involved in an RTA
- You believe someone else was responsible either in full or in part for the collision or crash
- You know who caused the accident and that they were driving a UK registered car.
If you are unsure about the value of your claim and whether or not you can claim through the portal yourself, we advise that you seek advice and guidance from a personal injury solicitor.
What if my injuries are significant?
If you or a relative has suffered a serious, life-changing injury, you should consult with a legal expert who can advise you on the process of bringing a legal claim for compensation.
Banner Jones has a dedicated team of specialist Serious Injury Solicitors to help you receive the treatment, rehabilitation and compensation you deserve.
Our experienced Serious Injury Solicitors have been helping clients with claims for over 45 years. We are here to ensure that you get the compensation you require so that you can continue living your life without financial worries.
Very often in serious injury cases, such as an injury to the brain, extensive and costly changes to your lifestyle will be necessary, such as lengthy rehabilitation and possible modifications to your home and car.
Our medical and disability experts are experienced in dealing with cases involving brain injury, spinal injury, loss of limbs and even loss of life. Therefore, we understand that this is an extremely difficult and emotional time for you and your loved one. We deal with all of our cases with the utmost sensitivity and care and can arrange to meet with you at home or in hospital if this is easier for you.
If you have sustained an injury in a road traffic accident and would like to discuss your case in more detail, please contact our personal injury team. We can see you face to face or conduct an appointment over the phone.