John McGuinness column
‘The law will cap payouts for minor whiplash’
QWill my wife still get her whiplash compensation?
I heard on the news that there are changes coming in to lower compensation for injuries in road traffic accidents. My wife was on her bike a couple of weeks ago and got rear-ended while waiting at traffic lights. She’s going through a claim for whiplash as a result. Will the change in the law wreck her chances of getting a payout? Andrew Reed, email
AThis is to do with the Government cracking down on a perceived ‘compensation culture’ – when in fact the Government are wrong about there being a ‘culture’ because their own official figures show the biggest sources of cases, motor claims, fell by 17% this year to around 650,000. It was the fifth year-on-year fall. The legislation itself is still in draft format, but is expected to come into force in 2019. It will cap the amount someone can claim for a minor whiplash injury. This will reduce the average whiplash pay out from £1850 to a maximum amount of £425. It will also ban insurance companies from settling claims before a medical report is obtained, known as a ‘pre-med settlement’.
The good news for bikers is the draft legislation excludes them from the whiplash reform. Your wife (and anyone injured before the legislation is implemented) will fall under the current rules, so she will receive more compensation than someone injured later.