Whiplash injury compensation under the Civil Liability Act 2018 has been described as ‘an insult to the injured and vulnerable’ by industry commentators

The new compensation tariffs for whiplash injuries, effective from 31 May as part of the delayed whiplash reforms, are “derisory”, “offensive” and will “certainly leave people under-compensated”, according to Sam Elsby, president of not-for-profit group the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL).

Elsby was speaking ahead of two parliamentary debates on the proposed Whiplash Injury Regulations 2021, which are scheduled to take place this week in the House of Commons.

In February, the government published these regulations as part of the Civil Liability Act 2018 – they establish the final tariff table for soft tissue or whiplash injuries and clarify that a medical report is required in order to settle a whiplash injury-related claim.

However, Elsby believes the new tariff table “allows insurers to save money at the expense of injured people”.

He said: “The proposed tariffs for whiplash injuries are derisory and offensive and will almost certainly leave people under-compensated.

“The lowest tariff provides just £240 for pain and suffering that will affect an injured person for up to three months - this is not anywhere near the appropriate level of compensation.

“Imagine if you are the parent of a small child that you can’t pick up to comfort, or an athlete who can’t compete, or a retiree who is unable to go out and about for those three months.

“Injured people are going to be taken aback when they have a crash and find out that their injury and the months of pain, discomfort and stress are worth less than the cost of a new sofa.

“Only the insurance industry will benefit from this new tariff. It allows insurers to save money at the expense of injured people who will no longer receive full and fair compensation.”

whiplash tariff table

Source: The Whiplash Injury Regulations 2021

Lack of compassion and common sense

Meanwhile, Qamar Anwar, managing director of First4Lawyers, said the updates around the whiplash reforms so far have demonstrated “a lack of compassion and common sense to truly address the issues”, with proposed tariff amounts “an insult” to those injured in road traffic accidents.

He said: “We await with interest the outcome of [the] parliamentary debates on whiplash reform. Updates so far have left many of us in the industry wringing our hands at what we can only describe as a lack of compassion and common sense to truly address the issues.

“In February, we saw a piecemeal approach to issuing the rules and the Pre-Action Protocol and Practice Direction, and earlier this month the staggering news that the Ministry of Justice doesn’t see fit to inform the public via a widespread consumer information campaign.

“We can only hope now that peers and MPs alike will see the derisory tariffs that have been proposed for what they truly are - an insult to the injured and vulnerable.

“Once again, the winners in this situation will be the insurers who save money at the expense of the pain and suffering of those injured through no fault of their own.”