A whiplash injury is defined as "an injury of soft tissue in the neck, back or shoulder that is… a sprain, strain, tear, rupture or lesser damage of a muscle, tendon or ligament in the neck, back or shoulder, or an injury of soft tissue associated with a muscle, tendon or ligament in the neck, back or shoulder." It doesn't include "an injury of soft tissue which is a part of or connected to another injury and the other injury is not an injury of soft tissue in the neck back or shoulder".
Whiplash Reforms – how this will affect you
The rules on whiplash claims changed on 31st May 2021, in what have become known as the “whiplash reforms”. If you were a driver or a passenger in a vehicle involved in an accident before this date that was not your fault, please contact our specialist personal injury solicitors on 0808 252 5231.
If your accident occurred on or after 31st May 2021, please see our advice below.
How do I make a whiplash claim?
Accidents before 31st May 2021
If your accident occurred before 31st May 2021 and you were a driver or a passenger in a vehicle involved in an accident that was not your fault, please contact our team on 0808 252 5231 to discuss the potential of a claim.
Accidents on or after 31st May 2021
If you were a driver or adult passenger in a vehicle and your accident happened on or after 31st May 2021 and your claim is worth less than £5,000.00 for your injuries and a total of £10,000.00 for all losses relating to the accident (could include loss of earnings, travel expenses, medication costs) then you will need to do visit the Official Injury Claim website and follow the steps set out to use their portal.
You will need to act as a litigant in person as you are unable to recover any legal costs.
If your accident happened on or after 31st May 2021 and you were one of the following, then please contact our specialist solicitors to see how we can assist you with a potential claim, as you will fall under the exceptions of the new Whiplash Reforms:
- A Minor (under the age of 18)
- The Claimant or Defendant is a Protected Party
- You are bankrupt
- Your accident involved a foreign insured Defendant vehicle which is registered outside of the UK
- A user of a mobility scooter or wheelchair
- A horse rider
What are the whiplash reforms?
The rules for making a personal injury claim for a Road Traffic Accident changed on 31st May 2021. Under the Civil Liabilities Act 2018, commonly referred to as the “whiplash reforms” a new fixed tariff will apply to whiplash injuries, affecting the amount of compensation you are able to claim. The new legislation also prevents whiplash claims from being settled without medical evidence.
For Road Traffic claims, the small claims limit has increased from £1,000 to £5,000 for accidents that happened on or after 31st May 2021. The change means legal costs for claims under £5,000 are no longer recoverable.
Who do the whiplash reforms apply to?
The reforms apply to anyone bringing a claim for a road traffic accident where:
- The accident happened on or after 31st May 2021
- The Claimant was the occupant of a motor vehicle at the time (not including motorcycles)
- The Claimant suffered a “whiplash injury”
- The value of the injury claim is under £5,000 and the total value of the claim is under £10,000.
How are whiplash claims valued?
As part of the Civil Liabilities Act, compensation for whiplash injuries is now based on how long the injury lasts. The new tariff will apply as follows:
What is the new small claims limit?
If your claim falls within the small claims limit, you will be unable to recover the legal costs of bringing a claim.
For Road Traffic Accident injury claims where the accident occurred before 31st May 2021, the small claims limit remains £1,000.
For Road Traffic Accident injury claims where the accident occurred on or after 31st May 2021 the small claims limit for injury is now £5,000 and the whole value of the claim under £10,000.
There are some exceptions to the new £5,000 small claims limit. For these cases, the small claims limit remains at £1,000 for personal injury
The exceptions are:
- Whiplash claims for children and protected parties (those who lack legal capacity).
- Claims involving “vulnerable road users” – motorcyclists, cyclists, pedestrians, horse riders and those in mobility scooters
- Where the Claimant is bankrupt
- Where the Claimant or Defendant is the personal representative of a deceased person.
- Where the claim is against a driver of a foreign registered vehicle.
The Claimant was warming up for a game of volleyball during her PE lesson. She was instructed to run around the outside of the hall and attempt to catch up with the person in front of her. The volleyball net was hung across the middle of the hall but was folded up on itself to keep it out of the way. However, the net was in poor condition and as the Claimant was running underneath it a piece of the net got caught around her neck and she was pulled backwards. The Claimant sustained a whiplash-type soft tissue injury to her neck and a laceration around her neck which is likely to leave a permanent scar.