’People cannot access the legal support and we see when people use the portal [that] it is a very difficult system to navigate,’ says chairman

There are growing concerns that changes to the personal injury system are leaving more injury victims unable to access legal support and compensation.

That was according to Julian Tomlinson, chairman at motor legal expenses company Alps, who said the Official Personal Injury (OIC) portal has seen a reduction in the number of claims that are pursued to a settlement and the level of awards.

The whiplash regulations were introduced in 2021 and formed part of the Civil Liability Act 2018.

As part of this, the OIC portal was setup in May 2021 to reduce the number and cost of whiplash claims in England and Wales.

“When the government moved to reduce the use of claims management companies with schemes such as the whiplash reforms, we welcomed it,” Tomlinson said.

“I think everyone was pleased to see an end of the phone calls offering after the event (ATE) legal services.

“However, what this has done is create a situation where the ability to find legal help to support any personal injury claims has been severely limited.”


This came after data from the OIC showed that 68,098 claims were submitted between January and March 2024, lower than the 76,590 reported during the same period in 2023.

“It is not a case of people no longer having accidents and suffering injury,” Tomlinson said.

“People cannot access the legal support and we see when people use the portal [that] it is a very difficult system to navigate.”

The data also showed that of the 68,098 claims submitted between January and March this year, 30,861 were settled.

Tomlinson said the average compensation award had fallen as well.

“In the past, if you suffered a whiplash injury which continued for 12 months, the average award was £4,000.

“Under the new portal, that award is now £1,300.

“The level of damages is falling, the number of cases has fallen sharply as have the number that are being settled.

“We were told the result of this would be a reduction in the costs of insurance premiums, but that if not something we have seen as yet.”


He added that discussions with brokers have seen Alps look to highlight the need for greater vigilance when it comes to how clients should be supported when it comes to personal injury claims.

“We have said brokers need to pay attention to the product in front of them,” Tomlinson added.

“We know cost is an issue and there are some products which are removing personal injury cover to reduce costs.

“Brokers need to understand if and how the product has changed at renewal. It may well not be obvious, but it needs to be identified.

“In a new era of customer duty, brokers need to be careful and they need to understand if anything has changed and communicate [it] to the customer.”