Time Running Out for Road Traffic Accident Claims

Author: Jane Penman

New laws being brought in by the government are set to change the way people can claim compensation for road traffic accidents.

Changes to what have become known as the whiplash reforms are set to come in to force in April, although the precise implementation date isn’t currently known. What is known, however, is that the new rules mean that anyone involved in a road traffic accident that wasn’t their fault will have to sustain injuries valued in excess of £5,000 in order to make a compensation claim through a solicitor.

Currently, the threshold for making a claim for a road traffic injury is £1,000 and the majority of solicitors work on a no win, no fee basis so that clients don’t have take on the financial burden of pursuing a claim.

The move has been opposed by many in the personal injury sector. Jane Penman, a personal injury partner at Russell & Russell, said: “For obvious reasons this is a real worry as it’s likely to prevent access to justice for many who’ll feel intimidated at the prospect of navigating a complex claims process without legal representation.

“There’s a good chance that those who don’t fully understand the legal process behind personal injury litigation won’t pursue a claim. Undoubtedly, this will not only have financial implications, but Claimant’s could miss out on the provision of rehabilitation therapies.”

The changes have been brought in as part of measures outlined in the Jackson Reforms which highlighted a need to tackle bogus personal injury claims. Concerns, however, have been raised that the changes have gone too far and genuine Claimants will struggle to receive the compensation they’re entitled to.

Jane continued: “These changes are coming in whether we like it or not, so I would urge anyone who’s been involved in a road traffic accident that wasn’t their fault in the last three years to lodge their claim with a solicitor before the proposed April deadline.

“If they leave it until after deadline and their injuries are not considered substantial enough i.e. whiplash type injuries, Claimant’s will be faced with the stark choice of self-representation through the complex area of personal injury law or just not making the claim the first place. Not making a claim is likely to leave them substantially out of pocket due to damage to vehicles, loss of earnings or rehabilitation costs as well as having to suffer the effects of any injuries they may have sustained.”

If this applies to you, call Russell & Russell and speak to one of the personal injury team to find out if you can make a claim.

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