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Whiplash Injury Regulations 2021

Who does it apply to?

These Regulations will be of particular interest to those businesses that operate with vehicles on the road, such as commercial fleet operators.

When did it change?

These Regulations came into force on 31 May 2021.

What does it mean?

This Statutory Instrument:

  • Specifies, by way of a tariff, the amount of damages payable for pain suffering and loss of amenity (PSLA) for any road traffic accident (RTA) related whiplash injury or injuries that last up to 2 years, any whiplash injury or injuries, and any minor psychological injuries suffered on the same occasion as any whiplash injury. The tariff presents an ascending scale of fixed sum payments, with the appropriate tariff figure for any given case being determined by the duration of the whiplash injury incurred.

  • Allows the court to apply a discretionary uplift (up to 20%) to the appropriate tariff figure in exceptional circumstances.

  • Specifies what constitutes appropriate medical evidence for the purposes of settling a personal injury claim which includes a whiplash injury (and which, under section 6 of the Civil Liability Act 2018 (CLA 2018) must be obtained before the claim may be settled) as well as specifying those experts who may provide such evidence.

What’s changed?

Until now, where an agreement on the significant damages for PSLA for whiplash claims has not been reached, such damages have been determined by the courts.

Part 1 of the CLA 2018 changes this by providing in section 3 of the Act that the Lord Chancellor may, in regulations and by way of a tariff, fix the amount of compensation that a court may award for PSLA in respect of one or more whiplash injuries or of one or more whiplash injuries and any minor psychological injuries, such as low level travel anxiety, suffered on the same occasion as the whiplash injury. More serious whiplash injuries exceeding 2 years in duration are not subject to the tariff.

The reforms, which aim to simplify compensation for victims and clarify processes around claims, increase the small claims track limit, in so far as it applies to damages for PSLA in RTA related personal injury claims, from £1,000 to £5,000.

There is a new online service to support claimants subject to these reforms. The Official Injury Claim portal is being developed in conjunction with stakeholders which will enable both represented and unrepresented claimants to process and settle RTA related personal injury claims valued at no more than £5,000.

This Statutory Instrument introduces the tariff of predictable damages for all RTA related whiplash injuries (as defined under the CLA) of up to 2 years, suffered on the same occasion, and any whiplash injury or injuries and any minor psychological injuries suffered on the same occasion as any whiplash injury or injuries. The tariff specifies two figures, one for whiplash injuries only and one for whiplash injuries and any minor psychological injuries suffered on the same occasion. In both instances the value of the claim will be based on the duration of the whiplash injury, so claimants will still be able to identify the compensation owed by reference to the prognosis in the medical report.

In addition, these Regulations specify the medical evidence that must be seen by a regulated person before they may invite a payment in settlement of, or settle, offer to settle, or make or accept a payment in respect of, an RTA-related whiplash injury claim.

The Regulations provide that where a claimant lives in England and Wales, or chooses to be examined in England or Wales, evidence of the whiplash injury or injuries must be provided in a fixed cost medical report from an accredited medical expert selected via the MedCo Portal. If, however, a medical report has been obtained in respect of a another injury suffered on the same occasion as the whiplash injury, which is identified in the report as a more serious injury than the whiplash injury, that report may be used if it is from a doctor who is listed on the General Medical Council’s Specialist Register and it also reports on the whiplash injury.

The terms “fixed cost medical report”, “accredited medical expert” and “MedCo” are defined in the regulations.

The regulations are available here. An explanatory memorandum is available here.

Parliament May 2021

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