The Ministry of Justice has, today, published part one of its response to the ‘Reforming the soft tissue injury (‘whiplash’) claims process’ consultation. This response provides further detail on the package of measures which is designed to disincentivise minor, exaggerated and fraudulent road traffic accident (RTA) related whiplash claims.
The consultation closed on 6 January 2017, and following analysis of the many responses the Government has decided to take forward the following reforms:
- the introduction of a tariff of fixed compensation for pain, suffering and loss of amenity for claims with an injury duration of between 0 and 24 months;
- providing the judiciary with the facility to both decrease the amount awarded under the tariff in cases where there may be contributory negligence or to increase the award (with increases capped at no more than 20%) in exceptional circumstances;
- introducing a ban on both the offering, payment and requesting of offers to settle claims without medical evidence;
- increasing the small claims limit for RTA related personal injury claims to £5,000; and
- Increasing the small claims limit for all other types of personal injury claim to £2,000.
Items 1 to 3 above will be introduced through provisions in the Prisons and Courts Bill which is also being introduced to Parliament today. Items 4 and 5 will be introduced through secondary legislative procedures, and it is the Government’s intention to implement these reforms as a package once the Prisons and Courts Bill has completed its Parliamentary passage.
Copies of the government response and other related documents can be accessed at: https://consult.justice.gov.uk/digital-communications/reforming-soft-tissue-injury-claims.
As noted above, today’s publication is the first part of the Government’s response to the recent consultation. Part two will be published in due course and will cover the ‘implementing recommendations from the Insurance Fraud Taskforce’ and ‘call for evidence’ sections of the consultation.