Road accident

How Road Traffic Accident Claims Changes Will Affect You2nd Dec 2020

by Adrian Cormack on 2nd Dec 2020

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Changes Due In May 2021

The law is changing on road accident claims. It’s likely to be much harder to claim compensation for supposedly ‘minor’ injuries after May 2021.

And compensation payouts would be lower. That’s because the government is introducing a new tariff-based system. 

But if you’ve been injured in a road accident, you need proper compensation to help you recover. So your life can get back to how it was before. This will be easier if you claim before May 2021.

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How Will The Changes Affect Me?

As experienced solicitors, we can tell you that even minor soft tissue injuries sustained in a road accident can have a disproportionate impact on a victim’s:

  • long-term health and well-being
  • ability to earn a living and provide for their family
  • overall quality of life.

But the government has bowed to insurance industry lobbying. It seems intent on pressing ahead with damaging reforms to the rules governing personal injury claims.

At headline level, it’s all about whiplash. But in reality these changes will affect lots of other accident victims with a wide range of painful and debilitating soft tissue injuries.…

These damaging changes to the law would deny justice to those least able to afford it. The planned reforms include:

  • Maximum compensation limits for minor injuries – £225 for a three-month injury instead of the current £2,250; £450 for a six-month injury (an 85% cut); £765 for a nine-month injury (a 78% cut).
  • Increasing the small claims limit from £1,000 to £5,000 for road accidents not involving pedestrians, cyclists, motorcyclist and horse riders (and from £1,000 to £2,000 for other claims). You can’t claim legal fees for cases that go through the small claims process. So victims in these cases will have to represent themselves in court; they won’t be able to afford a lawyer. These people will be priced out of the justice system.


Why The Government Reforms Are So Unjust

Everything you’ve read so far in this post tells you how unfair the reforms are.

But soft tissue injuries caused by shunts – usually one car driving into the back of another – are commonplace. That does not make them trivial though. Far from it. We see the impact these injuries have on the victims and their families. 

What happens when a self-employed tradesperson is out of work for months because they have been injured? Contrary to popular belief, most families don’t have significant savings to tide them through times of trouble. They couldn’t afford to save much during the long years of austerity. And times are far from easy now.

Any insurance cover they might have is usually minimal and hamstrung by small print. Short-term income protection insurance policies generally include a pre-agreed deferral period; they won’t pay out for up to 12 months after you have claimed. Nor will they cover your full earnings. Insurance can also affect eligibility for benefits. 

All of which means that someone who has sustained even a basic soft tissue injury could be left in a very difficult financial position if they’re self-employed but unable to work. How is someone injured for three months supposed to survive on £225? And how can they get legal advice when they’re denied the right to claim funding for it?

Without a lawyer, they’ll have to represent themselves in court – slowing up proceedings. That will further delay cases in our already overburdened courts system. How do we know? It has already happened in the family courts; more people now have to represent themselves in divorce proceedings because they can’t get Legal Aid.


What Can I Do About The Reforms?

If you’ve had an injury, don’t delay – act now.

This is good practice anyway because there’s a three-year time limit on claims (although there are exceptions for victims who are aged under 18 or have reduced mental capacity).

Coles Miller handles all claims on a No Win No Fee basis – so there’s no financial risk to you. Our experienced lawyers have a very strong track record when it comes to winning cases. Most cases never need to go to court. That’s because insurers acting for the defendant usually admit liability and settle the claim.

And in the unlikely event that your claim is unsuccessful, you do not have to pay a penny. Find out more about how No Win No Fee arrangements work.


Get Expert Legal Advice On Claiming

Have you been injured in a road accident? Need help? Contact Coles Miller Managing Partner Adrian Cormack, head of the Personal Injury Department.