Articles From the Team

What are the Whiplash reforms?

The whiplash reforms came into effect from 31st May 2021. If you work within the RTA personal injury practice area, you do not need me to tell you how much panic surrounded these reforms on the lead up to them being implemented.

The changes include:-

  • An increase in the RTA small claims limit for PSLA from £1,000.00 to £5,000.00
  • The introduction of an award tariff for injuries of up to 2 years (under the tariff, an injury of 3 months would have been worth around £1,750.00 pre-reforms, but would now be worth just £240.00)

The changes mean that it is now no longer profitable for most firms to run low value personal injury claims, as only small claims costs will be awarded - that 3 month injury mentioned above would have fetched £2,655.00 + VAT + disbursements at trial in 2020, but just £70.00 + VAT + disbursements today.

The Effects

A large number of smaller personal injury firms are being forced to close their doors, as those smaller value claims were previously their bread and butter.

It would seem that nowadays, the only firms able to stay up and running whilst dealing with RTA claims are the larger firms.

With this in mind, it is no wonder that the reforms injected panic into the industry. However I am here to tell you that as a personal injury lawyer, you do not need to worry.

My focus as a legal recruiter is on Birmingham and the wider Midlands region, and much of the South of the UK, and I can assure you that I am seeing a good and steady number of personal injury vacancies being hired for! There are great opportunities out there in personal injury at the moment, and personal injury lawyers are still thriving and progressing in their careers.

Something to note is that the reforms do not apply to vulnerable road users. This means that claims are not subject to the new rules if the claims come from:

  •  Pedestrians
  • Bicycle and motorcycle riders
  • Children
  • Horseriders

In addition to this, whilst EL and PL claims have also had an increase in small claims limit, this was to £2,000.00 rather than £5,000.00 and so they are nowhere near as greatly affected as RTA claims.

Why You Can Relax

Firms of various scales have been able to adapt their offering so that vulnerable road users represent the bulk of their clients, and lots of firms have began to take on more and more EL/PL work. For these firms, following the transition period which the last few months has provided, it is very much a case of ‘business as usual’.

Has the last few months been challenging for personal injury? Undoubtedly, yes, but this is not the first time that reforms have shaken the industry up. Just as the industry coped with the effects of the Jackson reforms, so will it cope with the 2021 reforms, and your career will be just fine.

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