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Changes To Whiplash Claims To Be Introduced By Ministry of Justice in April.

Woman holding her neck in pain
14th May 2014
In April, the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) plans to re-instate the no win no fee claim for whiplash are actually genuine, was released in November 2012. The Report coincided with the announcement from Justice Secretary Chris Grayling that a consultation process, beginning in December 2012, was aimed at creating a better system for insurers to determine genuine from fraudulent claims.

The consultation, which closed on 8th March, would look into introducing new, independent medical panels to improve diagnosis of whiplash injuries and options to allow more whiplash cases to be challenged in the small claims court. The aim is to ensure that while genuine claims would still proceed, those claims found to be “exaggerated, misrepresented or fraudulent” would be ‘robustly’ challenged.

Responding to the introduction of a more effective claims evaluation, the ABI said that the new system “will help genuine claimants get paid out quickly and reduce the scope for fraud.”

Proposals called for would fall in line with the current system in Germany, under which, all whiplash claimants are required to produce two medical reports and evidence of a 10km/h (6.25mph) threshold, and in-car monitoring via SmartBox technology. Claimants would also be expected to work with the MOJ’s independent medical board in order to receive the full compensation.

A further proposal is to raise the limit on cases that can be pursued through the small claims court from £1,000 to £5,000, in bid to reduce the costs incurred by insurers when challenging claims.

However, one of the changes that will be taking place in April is a “rebalancing” of the no-win no-fee system, whereby, losing defendants will no longer have to pay a success fee or legal insurance premium to the claimant’s lawyer.

The changes are taking place within the wider context of substantial reforms to civil litigation funding and costs in Part 2 of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders (LASPO) Act 2012.