Justice Committee launches inquiry into whiplash reforms
The review follows government changes to the legal framework
The UK Parliament’s Justice Committee announced on 10 February the launch of a new review into how whiplash injuries caused during road traffic accidents are processed in light of the recent reforms to the legal framework introduced by the government in 2021.
The Committee’s inquiry will scrutinise the impact of the UK’s Whiplash Reform Programme, which was developed with the aim of reducing the “disproportionately high number and cost of whiplash claims in England and Wales.” More specifically, the inquiry will evaluate whether any savings have been made following the reforms and how the new online claim service operates.
As part of the reforms, the Motor Insurance Bureau was commissioned to develop an online portal, the Official Injury Claim, for use by claimants making low value road traffic accident claims. The new inquiry will look into the effect of these reforms on the number of minor personal injury claims to date and whether the portal ensures access to justice.
The Committee is seeking evidence from stakeholders on a set of questions, which includes information on: what effect the reforms have had on the number of minor personal injury claims to date; to what extent the new measures have met the government’s objective of reducing the cost of whiplash claims to the economy; to what extent any savings are being passed on to motorists; and why most claimants continue to use legal representation when using the online portal.
Chair of the Justice Committee, Sir Bob Neill, said “Whiplash injury claims have been costing motorists a disproportionately large amount of money and taking up a lot of precious court time. That’s not to minimise the pain and suffering such injuries can cause. But if we can find a way of saving money and court time we should do so. So we’ll be looking carefully into the way claims are being processed and how much they cost motorists and the wider tax-paying public. We want justice to prevail, but we want it to be efficient as well.”
Written submissions from interested stakeholders are being accepted until 17 March 2023.