Whiplash Reform: What Does it Mean for Victims?

Is it game over for fraudulent whiplash insurance claims in England?

New legislation reduces amount payable and remove the possibility of claiming legal fees from the other party. Will this drive down motor insurance premiums?

The Changes

Effective 31 May 2021, the government introduced changes to the way victims of Road Traffic Accidents (RTAs) can lodge personal injury claims for whiplash in England and Wales. The changes are made under The Civil Liability Act 2018 and the Whiplash Injury Regulations 2021.

The reforms include a reduction in the amount payable and remove the possibility of claiming legal fees from the respondent (the other side, the party at fault). Together, these discourage legal representation for the majority of whiplash claims, making no-win, no-fee claims more tricky.

In place of legal representation, the government has introduced a self-service portal, the Official Injury Claim Service (OIC) and with it, standardised payouts, based on the duration of injury.

Legislation now obstructs also settling out of court, as it makes it illegal to offer, suggest or accept payment in settlement of a claim without sight of a reliable, independent medical report.


The government advises that the new legislation is designed to reduce the number and cost of RTA whiplash-related claims.

Ultimately, it is claimed this should drive down the cost of motor insurance as a result of fewer, less costly claims.

What Are the Implications for Victims?

It reduces the amount you can claim and effectively removes legal representation, because it is no longer possible to claim for legal expenses from the respondent.

On the plus side, the OIC service is free and the government claims that the system is simple enough to use without any legal assistance.

How Much Can I Claim?

The courts have a little leeway – up to 20% – to increase the award “in exceptional cases” to the injured party, but otherwise the amounts are fixed. The figures in the third column include an element for psychological harm – eg PTSD, resulting from the accident.

You may not include any legal costs in your claim.

Table from UK Government website, showing maximum compensation for whiplash injuries sustained in a n RTA (road traffic accident) res, sh

Who Do the New Rules Apply to?

The new rules apply to people, aged 18 or over, in England and Wales, who suffer whiplash in an accident, not their fault, inside a motor vehicle after 31 May 2021, claiming for compensation with the personal injury component valued at less than £5,000. The total claim, including “Other damages” may not exceed £10,000.

Therefore, if you are under 18, or had your accident on a motorbike or scooter, for example, you are not affected by the new rules.

How Do I Proceed?

If you have been injured or hurt in an accident that was not your fault, contact us on office@ardenslaw.com or 020 7100 7098.

We are fluent in English, Polish, Hindi, Gujarati, Punjabi and Urdu.


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