Proposed changes to whiplash claims – choose your lawyer wisely

You may have read in the press recently that the Government has launched a consultation on claims involving whiplash injuries.

The key proposed change to the current rules under consideration is that whiplash claims with a value of £5,000.00 or less should be dealt with as “small claims”. This means that even if your whiplash claim was successful, you would not be able to recover your legal costs from the person that caused your injury or their insurer if its value fell within this limit. You would have to pay your legal fees yourself.

At present, only personal injury claims with a value of £1,000.00 or less are dealt with as small claims.

We recognise the pressures this would place on our clients in terms of having to pay their own legal costs and therefore have a number of options available to you to fund these claims and gain justice for the wrongdoing you have been caused.

It is stated in the consultation that the key reason for the consultation is to attempt to reduce the number of fraudulent whiplash claims.  In our view however, the government have vastly overestimated this problem and could take very different steps to counteract this issue rather than hitting those that have been genuinely wronged in the pocket by having them pay their own legal costs.

Insurers have also promised to pass on any savings they make from these changes if implemented, estimated to be £40.00 per person, per year, which we believe is likely to have convinced the Government to run this consultation.

We have heard this before from insurers however when previous changes were made to the way in which whiplash claims are handled in 2013, and car insurance premiums are in fact rising, despite huge savings made by the insurance industry.

So we will find out in due course whether these proposed changes do become reality, but if they do, your choice of lawyer becomes more important than ever in the event of a whiplash claim. Given you may become responsible of the payment of your own legal fees; you need to have trust in your lawyer that they have all options available to you to fund legal advice and, in the event you do have to pay your legal fees, that they will charge you a reasonable fee.

When choosing a lawyer you need to strike the right balance of finding someone with the necessary expertise to get the result you deserve, and a representative that charges a fair fee for the work required, otherwise you could be out of pocket either through a poor result at court or as a result of an unreasonably high fee. In addition, having the right lawyer may mean the difference between having a claim valued below the small claim threshold or above, with huge costs consequences.

With 60 years’ presence in Barnsley not only do we offer vast experience and expertise to obtain the best possible result from your personal injury claim, but you can trust that we are able to provide a comprehensive range of funding options to you to fund the legal advice required and, should you have to pay to your legal costs, that will charge a reasonable fee for our work, having built our long held reputation on providing excellent value for money for the work we do.

If you want to discuss a potential personal injury claim please contact our expert David Wilson on 01226 210000 or via email at