Whiplash Tariff, fixing damages for whiplash injuries.

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05 April, 2024

John Bennett

On 31st May 2021 the Government introduced the Whiplash Tariff, fixing damages for whiplash injuries.

Whiplash is defined in the statute as being an injury of soft tissue in the neck, back or shoulder namely a sprain, strain, tear, or rupture or lesser damage of a muscle, tendon or ligament except if it is … part of or connected to another injury ie broken bone.

If you are involved in a Road traffic accident after the 31st May 2021, where your whiplash injury falls into the categories set out in the table below, the New tariff scheme will govern how much will get for such an injury. The Tariffs are as follows:-

Whiplash Only Whiplash and PTSD
Not more than 3 months £240 £260
More than 3 months, but not more than 6 months £495 £520
More than 6 months, but not more than 9 months £840 £895
More than 9 months, but not more than 12 months £1,320 £1,390
More than 12 months, but not more than 15 months £2,040 £2,125
More than 15 months, but not more than 18 months £3,005 £3,100
More than 18 months, but not more than 24 months £4,215 £4,345

A problem arose in relation to non whiplash injuries sustained at the same time. Other injuries that can often incur in road traffic accidents can include, wrist or hand sprains caused by gripping the steering wheel or instinctive bracing. Jaw pain, tinnitus (ring in the ears) leg, foot and ankle sprains.

Until March 2024 there was some uncertainty as to how these where to be valued when combined with a whiplash injury.

On the 26th March 2024, the Supreme court in Hassam v Rabot finally clarified the position and confirmed they are to be assessed in the usual way, by reference to past case law.

The Court should first add together the tariff amount for the whiplash injury and the common law damages for the other injuries, then stand back to consider whether to make a deduction to reflect any overlap between those amounts; any deduction had to be made from the damages for the non-whiplash injury; and the deduction should not reduce the overall amount of damages below the amount that would be awarded for the non-whiplash injury alone.

The new rules also restrict the ability to recover legal costs. If your claim is deemed to be worth more than £5,000 you can recover legal costs in addition. If the value falls below that figure we cannot recover them. They will have to be paid out of your damages. In that case, we can assist in running your claim to settlement stage for a fixed fee of £700 plus VAT. In addition to this we should be able to recover the costs of obtaining a medical report and any other reasonable expenses to prove your losses. We call these disbursements.

If we cannot agree settlement of the claim with your opponent, and it becomes necessary to issue court proceedings, either because we advise you their offer is too low, or the insurers dispute liability, we will have to enter into a separate arrangement to cover the costs of issuing and running the court proceedings. We will advise you of your options at that stage. It may not be economical to take the case further.

CLAIMS WHERE WE CAN RECOVER OUR FEES - even if the injury is worth less than £5000.

We can recover our fees from you opponent if the following exceptions apply.

Your injury claim is likely to be worth more than £5,000 or £1,000 if you are a "vulnerable road user"

The following are vulnerable road users :

  1. motor cyclist or pillion passenger
  2. cyclist
  3. pedestrian
  4. horse rider
  5. using a mobility scooter at the time of the accident
  6. a child or a protected party (a person under a disability without capacity to make financial decisions).
  7. an undischarged bankrupt
  8. the claimant or Defendant is deceased
  9. the Defendant's vehicle registered outside UK.

Injuries worth more than £5000:

If you do not fall into any of these categories and you have suffered other injuries, over and above a whiplash injury, for example, a sprain to a wrist, hand, elbow, knee, ankle, foot, fractured ribs, hearing loss, tinnitus and they are considered to be more serious than a simple whiplash injury, your claim may well be worth more than £5,000. A fracture to any bone is likely to justify an award in excess of £5,000. In that case costs should be recoverable.

The only deduction from your damages would be our 25% success fee and any shortfall in the costs we incur above the fixed costs payable by your opponent. Providing you follow our advice, we guarantee you will keep at least 70% of your damages.

In the case of a child or person lacking capacity, we will not make any deductions from damages, they will receive 100% of their damages, providing we can recover our costs from the opponent.

£100,000. The Law Society Gazette reports this week, that solicitors will be looking to their clients to recover any shortfall form their clients.

Providing our clients follow our advice, we limit our costs to the costs we can recover from the at fault party. The only exception being low value RTA whiplash claims where costs are not recoverable. In all other cases, the only deduction is our success fee. This is capped by law at 25%. Although 25% may sound high, it is a maximum. It is capped by a number of factors. It does not apply to any future losses recovered and is limited to the costs recoverable from the other party.

If you, a friend or relative has been involved in an accident, contact one of the team here at Forbes, for some no win, no fee, no obligation advice. We have been representing clients for over 100 years. We have specialist advisors with many years of experience representing injured clients in road traffic accident claims, accidents at work, trip slips and Clinical Negligence.

For more information contact John Bennett in our Personal Injury department via email or phone on 01254 872111. Alternatively send any question through to Forbes Solicitors via our online Contact Form.

Learn more about our Personal Injury department here

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