Understanding How Whiplash Claims Will Be Calculated In 2018 & How It Will Affect You *

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This is something pretty different to my blog really but I thought it would be good to write about the changes which are fast approaching in 2018 when it comes to whiplash payouts if involved in a road accident. I've teamed up with Your Legal Friend for this post and explain more about it and also my personal thoughts about the upcoming changes.

I'm pretty sure most people know about Whiplash and what it is. If not then Whiplash is a common injury that usually occurs to the soft tissue of a person's neck or upper back following a car accident.

In November 2016 the Ministry Of Justice decided to crack down on fake whiplash claims and published "Reforming the Soft Tissue Injury (whiplash) Claims Process. A consultation on arrangements concerning personal injury claims in England and Wales."

The whiplash reforms are being brought into action to stop minor, fraudulent and exaggerated claims (which even the Queen mentioned in her speech in June this year). The changes are due to start in 2018 which will introduce -

Raising the limit on small personal injury compensation from £1000 to £5000, meaning more people will be taking their case to a small claims court, without the need of a lawyer.

A fixed amount payable for the whiplash injuries which also means that it will reduce the amount of compensation you would receive if you did happen to have whiplash from a road accident. 

But this does mean that it would reduce the amount the insurer has to pay for the claim which means all cases under £5000 will be considered as small claims. The changes mean insurers will not be able to offer any settlement without an independent medical assessment of the claimant.

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Because of the fixed amount rate which claimants would receive as compensation, it would be saving the insurance industry a whopping £1bn a year. Because of the savings, it does mean that everyone would save on average £40 per year on their car insurance. But with car insurance always on the rise, is a saving of £40 actually a worthwhile when you could be losing out on possibly thousands if you did happen to get whiplash from a road traffic accident and was a genuine whiplash claim? 

The proposed tariffs are £225 (minimum) for an injury lasting between 0-3 months and compensation capped at £3725 for an injury lasting for 2 years or more. 

With still being a pretty new driver myself, I feel like this affects me both because of the whiplash claim changes and also the fact £40 saving per year isn't really all that great (an average of £3.50 per month) especially with insurance always being on the rise. I'm still not the most confident driver, I've come a long way from what I used to be like but I do worry about obviously about getting into an accident every time I'm in the car, I don't think I'm a bad driver, I'm scared of other peoples driving more than my own, to be honest.

If you are wanting to get your car insurance at a cheaper price then I personally find that Confused.com is usually the cheapest comparison website. Also deleting your cookies after visiting each comparison website also helps to reduce the prices and sometimes even calling up the insurance company you're planning on joining and being a little cheeky and ask if they can get the price down a little more.

I can understand the ban on settling claims without medical evidence. But I don't really agree on the caps because it is a huge difference in the amount you should be getting and the amount you would be getting. I think it's because I know people who have gotten whiplash from a car accident and it's literally changed their life forever, to think that if they were to have the unfortunate accident next year and they wouldn't be able to be compensated for the money they did get and possibly lose out on thousands of pounds, I think it's quite unfair really.

What are your thoughts on the changes? I'm personally kind of in two minds about it.  

*this post is in collaboration with Your Legal Friend