Road traffic accident claims: Whiplash reforms are now in force

The much anticipated whiplash reforms will finally come into force on 31st May 2021.

The whiplash reforms are a package of measures being introduced by the Government to modify the way low-value personal injury claims arising from Road Traffic Accidents (RTA)’s are managed.

For the most common injuries, those that last around 6-9 months, the compensation has been reduced to less than a third of what you would normally receive under the pre whiplash reform rules. A drop of about 70%: These tariffs are fixed and non-negotiable.

Injury Duration   Judicial College Guidelines amount 13th edition (2015)   New higher end of tariff including minor psychological injury
0-3 months             £200 to £2,050                                                                            £260
4-6 months             £2,050 to £3,630                                                                         £520
7-9 months             £2,050 to £3,630                                                                         £895
10-12 months         £2,050 to £3,630                                                                         £1,390
13-15 months         £3,630 to £6,600                                                                         £2,125
16-18 months         £3,630 to £6,600                                                                         £3,005
19-24 months         £3,630 to £6,600                                                                         £4,345

To put this reform into context, currently, if you have the misfortune to suffer a whiplash type injury of around six months’ duration you will receive in excess of £2,000 as compensation, under the new proposal you would receive £450, this is a set figure and cannot be negotiated. Also, the Government’s figures say that the average money compensation for injuries caused by road accidents is £1,850. Therefore the vast majority of people who are involved in a road traffic accident and who are injured through no fault of their own will receive one-quarter of what they are currently entitled to.

The Government proposes to reduce the money compensation for injury for other Road Traffic Accident claims by introducing a tariff of compensation for whiplash and minor psychological claims of up to 24 months in length.

Currently, the amount that you can claim is decided by reference to all of the Court awards in England and Wales and tabulated into the Judicial College Guidelines. The guidelines are published every second year and normally each publication shows a slight increase in the amounts of compensation for each type of injury.

Under the new reforms, the amount you can receive in compensation for the length of your injury will be set in stone and will not be open to negotiation.

There are however, some exceptions to the new rules. Which include:

  • Where the Claimant is a child or protected party;
  • Where the Claimant was a ’vulnerable road user’, e.g. motorcyclists and pillion/sidecar passengers, cyclists, pedestrians, horse riders and those using mobility scooters;
  • Where, on the date proceedings started, the Claimant is an undischarged bankrupt, or the Claimant or Defendant acts as a personal representative of a deceased person; and
  • Where, on the date that the accident occurred, the Defendant’s vehicle was registered outside the United Kingdom.

If a case falls into one or more of these categories, the old rules will apply and your claim would proceed under those terms.

The unfortunate part of these new reforms mean that any claim of up to £5,000 will now be classed as a “small claim”, this means that legal costs cannot be recovered from the Defendant at the end of the case, as you would be able to do pre-reform. What this means is that you will no longer be able to instruct a solicitor to help you with your claim if your injury is worth less than £5,000 as your solicitor would not get paid for doing so.

What this all means for you

In short, these reforms mean that if you are unlucky enough to be involved in a Road Traffic Accident on or after the 31st May 2021 and you are not in the category above then you will be subject to these new rules if you wish to make a claim for your injuries, if your injuries are of a minor whiplash-type nature then you will be unable to secure any legal services and will have to make your claim against the Defendant yourself via the new Government online portal which can be found here at

If you have been involved in a Road Traffic Accident before or after the 31st May 2021 and wish to make a claim then please contact our Personal Injury team on 01282 422 711 or email and we can arrange a free, no-obligation telephone consultation.

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