Osborne announces soft tissue claims ban in autumn statement

Chancellor George Osborne has announced plans to ban general damages for certain types of soft tissue injury claim, including whiplash claims.

As part of his Autumn Statement, the Chancellor said he intended to introduce measures to end the right to cash compensation for minor whiplash injuries. There will be a consultation on the details of the policy early in 2016.

The Chancellor also announced plans to raise the small claims limit for personal injury cases from £1,000 to £5,000.

What do the changes mean for whiplash claimants?

The measures do not affect anyone who has sustained serious injuries in an accident.

However, instead of receiving a cash payment in the form of general damages, a claimant who may be suffering from whiplash after a road traffic accident or scrape may be offered a smaller settlement or physiotherapy and treatment by their insurers.

The Chancellor has not ruled out claims for special damages, such as the cost of treatment and travel costs, and loss of earnings, but it is likely that claims for general damages - compensation for pain and suffering or emotional distress - will no longer be paid once the consultation is completed.

Whiplash and other soft tissue injuries are hard to disprove, which has led to accusations that some claims are fraudulent.

Insurers have stated that they will offer physiotherapy and other treatments to those affected by whiplash injuries.

A 'callous indifference'

Jonathan Wheeler, president of The Association of Personal Injury Lawyers said that "removing the right to damages for pain and suffering would show a ‘callous indifference' to the suffering of people who were needlessly injured by the negligence of others."

Mr Wheeler stated that raising the small claims court limit may mean genuine victims of injury are not able to afford the legal help they need to bring a claim.

Others raised concerns that the small claims court system could become clogged up as more claims were brought through it.

It is argued that fraudulent injury claims cost British drivers £2bn per year in insurance premiums so the announcement was welcomed by motoring organisations and insurers.

Can you still claim for whiplash?

As of November 2015, the whiplash ban is not yet in place and there is still time to claim.

It is not clear how long potential claimants who have sustained a whiplash injury or other soft tissue injury have left to claim, or when the consultation process will commence.

If you are concerned about making a whiplash claim or would like more information about the claims process, contact Quittance today on 0800 376 1001.

You can also request a callback for a more convenient time.

Howard Willis, Personal injury solicitor

Howard Willis, Personal injury solicitor