New car accident whiplash reforms announced in a ‘big win for consumers’

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The new changes reveal how much compensation road users will receive for their injuries in the event of a collision. Drivers who receive an injury for no more than three months will receive up to £240 in compensation.

The guideline levels rise in three-month increments up to 24 months where the maximum £4,215 payout could be received.

Those who suffer an injury for between six months and nine months will receive £840 with those suffering between nine months and 12 months being paid over £1,300.

Meanwhile, drivers who have an injury for over 12 months but no more than 15 months will be liable for a payout of over £2,000.

The new legislation allows for an uplift of 20 percent in “exceptional circumstances” where courts consider damages should be greater than the original tariff.

However, the courts must be satisfied the injury is “exceptionally severe” to award the extra finances.

A small fixed amount is added to cover ‘minor’ psychological injuries suffered at the same time as the whiplash injury.

Mark Shephard, Assistant Director at the Association of British Insurers (ABI) said the news was an “important step” for whiplash reforms.

He said: “Publication of the Statutory Instruments, Pre Action Protocol and Practice Direction are an important step towards implementing the long-awaited whiplash reforms.

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“This is a big win for consumers, the result of much hard work by the industry with a number of administrations over the years, to ensure that meaningful steps are taken to control the costs of the whiplash claims, whilst ensuring proportionate compensation is paid to genuinely injured claimants.

“The industry will consider the details carefully so that insurers will have sufficient time to prepare and provide a good service to customers through the new Claims Portal from 31 May.”

Whiplash is a dangerous neck injury caused by the forceful and rapid movement of the neck.

The injury is commonly caused by rear-end car accidents and can cause long-term complications.

Data from the Department for Transport (DfT) found 49 percent of respondents who had suffered a road injury reported feelings of whiplash.

Calum McPhail, Head of Liability Claims at Zurich said the group supported whiplash and injury reforms.

He said the next few months would be “essential” to review and understand the new rules to ensure everything was ready for the May launch.

He added: “Zurich strongly welcomes the publication of the civil procedure rules amendments and remain supportive of the personal injury whiplash reforms.

“Our priority is now to scrutinise the new rules and related protocols and be sure that systems, policies, and procedures are thoroughly prepared and tested.

“This period ahead of the Portal’s end of May go-live date is essential to review and understand the new rules and make the necessary preparations to ensure that everything works smoothly for the claimant from day one.

“We are committed to working with all stakeholders so that the new process works fast and seamlessly for all parties including unrepresented claimants.

“If it does not, then there is a danger of driving these claimants into the hands of CMCs who will take part of the damages as fees.”

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