For years, motorists have been plagued by claims where third party driver’s and passengers have claimed for personal injury which have resulted is settlements worth more than the damage caused to their vehicle. However, there is some good news on the horizon.
The introduction of the whiplash reforms, under the Civil Liability Act 2018, means that whiplash claims that previously settled for around £1500 could now be settled for as little as £240. The following table shows the proposed tariff for injuries sustained:
|Duration of injury *||Lower tariff (Reg 2(1)(a))||Upper tariff (Reg 2(1)(b))|
|Not more than 3 months||£240||£260|
|More than 3 months but not more than 6 months||£495||£520|
|More than 6 months but not more than 9 months||£840||£895|
|More than 9 months but not more than 12 months||£1,320||£1,390|
|More than 12 months but not more than 15 months||£2,040||£2,125|
|More than 15 months but not more than 18 months||£3,005||£3,100|
|More than 18 months but not more than 24 months||£4,215||£4,345|
Not all claims will be dealt with under this new reform and the exceptions to the rule are as follows:
- children and others who lack legal capacity (protected parties)
- vulnerable road users which are motor cyclists and pillion/sidecar passengers, cyclists, pedestrians, horse riders and those in mobility scooters
- claims where the claimant is an undischarged bankrupt or personal representative of a deceased person.
- claims against the personal representative of deceased persons; or
- drivers of foreign registered vehicles.
The reforms were brought in to reduce the amount of payouts but also to help those with no legal representation to make a claim. This is accomplished via the new official Injury Claim Portal which goes directly to the ‘at fault’ insurer and means rewards are paid the same whether you are legally represented or not.
The new reforms do reinforce the responsibilities of policyholders in that it is essential that they keep the Motor Insurers Database (MID) data as up-to-date and as accurate as possible and it is also a requirement that the policyholder provides an opinion on fault as soon as possible and within at least 30 days.
The need for MID accuracy
As the new portal is intended to be used by anyone, whether trained in the sector or not, once a vehicle registration is provided it will pull data from the MID and assign the incident to the registered insurer. If this is your insurer and there is no other insurer present, your insurance company will need to deal with the injury claim in full, regardless of whether you are operating that vehicle or not. This is to avoid injured parties being left with no one to pursue for their injury claim.
Previously, claims could be reported and then redirected if vehicles were hire cars or if the vehicle had been sold. Under the new reforms this will no longer be a reasonable excuse to have the injury claim redirected. It is absolutely imperative that if your business controls the MID updates, they need to be done the same day or within 24 hours to avoid any unwanted claim being dealt with.
Liability decision needed within 30 days
In order for the new portal to streamline the process of making the claim, an important part of this is the decision on liability or fault.
An insurer who receives the claim has 30 days from notification of the claim to give a decision on liability and that decision is binding. However, if no response is given by the insurer within 30 days, the liability is automatically accepted.
Once claims are reported, a decision on liability will need to be given quickly and if liability circumstances are unclear or may need further information, a full statement and sketch will be needed which is verified by a statement of truth; therefore, if the matter does proceed to court, your statement can be used.
Overall, the reforms are a great step forward to help stop the price of claims increasing, but policyholders must protect themselves in the first instance by keeping the MID database up-to-date and give a clear steer on your opinion of fault.
By Tom Spurr – Claims Technician