The MoJ released regulations for the whiplash reforms yesterday. Although three statutory instruments were published – the most important of which is the whiplash injury regulations which includes the new damages tariff – the critical Pre-Action Protocol and Practice Direction have yet to emerge. These are expected to be released in the next fortnight or so. The reforms will take effect for road traffic accidents on or after 31 May 2021.
Damages in defined whiplash claims (in which symptoms last for less than two years) will be subject to the tariff in the regulations (these are significantly lower than judicial guidelines), the personal injury element for motor claims in the small track will be increased from £1,000 to £5,000 (but still subject to £10,000 total value) and settlement of defined whiplash claims without medical evidence will be prohibited.
There is nothing in the published material about the small track limit for other injury claims being increased to £2,000 so that proposal may have been quietly shelved.
Three further pieces are still needed to complete the reforms: the new Pre-Action Protocol, the associated Practice Direction and the new FCA handbook provisions prohibiting settlement without medical evidence.
The MoJ commissioned MIB to build the platform – www.officialinjuryclaim.org.uk – via which motor injury claims under £5,000 claims are to be processed. That is being finalised and there is a market presentation on it next week.
The emergence of this material yesterday and the now-confirmed implementation date of 31 May mean that the MoJ has just about met the industry’s plea for at least three months’ lead time before the reforms take effect.
In the coming weeks we are holding a (remote) briefing event on the new measures and arranging follow-ups on specific aspects of the whiplash reform package. Please get in touch if you would like to take part.