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Whiplash Reform: a programme of measures to tackle the high number and costs of whiplash claims

Following a government review of whiplash claims arising out of low value road traffic accidents, the Whiplash Reform Programme went live on the 31st May 2021.

The outcome of this new programme is to reform how these claims are handled and to reduce the costs to insurers along with a reduction in opportunistic and fraudulent claims.

It also now allows unrepresented claimants to make a claim for injury via the RTA Small Claims Portal – Official Injury Claim Service (OICS).

There is a fixed tariff which covers whiplash and / or minor psychological injury up to a maximum recovery period of 2 years. There is no minimum period.

The maximum award for personal injury under the old small claims limit was £1,000, this has now been increased to £5,000 with an overall maximum limit of £10,000 to include non-injury elements of a claim (excluding credit hire / repairs and insurer outlay).

For now, it only applies in England and Wales.

Accident Investigation

The insurers will only have 30 working days to investigate the claim and determine whether to accept the claim in full / part or to deny it. Any days beyond the 30 and the claim will be deemed admitted.

If the claim is accepted in full then an accident report form is completed and submitted to insurers in the normal fashion.

If there is anything other than this, the driver of the vehicle must complete a Statement of Truth, which includes full information of the incident and a description of the driver. The important part is that the form must be signed by the driver only.

If the driver leaves the clients employment or is an agency driver then it is your responsibility to ensure that the Statement of Truth is completed and signed.

Without a signed form, the courts will not allow any insurer evidence to challenge the claim.

At the initial stage of the claim, the insurers can upload a summary of the claim in the absence of the signed Statement of Truth but have to explain why it has not been signed and returned.

An electronic signature will be accepted, and all liability decisions will be binding.

This new process does exclude any incident involving a motorcyclist, pedestrian, or cyclist.

How can you help the insurer?

  • Ensure all hire vehicles are entered on MID
  • If hire is under 14 days, there is no requirement so a claim would be made against the hirer’s insurance and then redirected to your insurers which may result in delays with the 30-day rule so keep detailed records of all vehicles under 14 days hire.
  • Early notification of accidents will really help the insurer to start investigations in advance of any potential claim under the new portal
  • Take photos of all vehicles at the scene which records the damage and the areas of non-damage
  • If possible, take note of the number and position of any adult or child passengers in the front and rear and if seatbelts were being worn
  • Take details of any independent witnesses at the scene
  • Take notice of whether there is CCTV cameras at the scene that may have captured the incident
  • Retain any dashcam footage and provide a copy to BHIB / Insurers
  • Consider any signs of suspicious behaviour and report it to BHIB / Insurers
  • Ensure that the Statement of Truth is completed in a timely fashion
  • Retain the telemetric data and ensure it is not overwritten
  • The driver will need to be aware that they may need to attend court to defend the claim if litigation is proceeded with
  • The insurers only have 14 days to react to any court summons. This will be in the name of the driver so any correspondence received must be forwarded ASAP

How can BHIB assist you?

The claims team are here to assist with any queries along with your Account Exec / Handler.

The Official Injury Claim service have produced a walkthrough video that provides details on the identity verification process for claimants making a claim.

If any of your drivers wish to make a claim following a non-fault claim on the portal, then this would be a private matter and nothing for you to be involved with.