On 31 May 2021 the government made changes to the claims process for low value road traffic accident (RTA) related personal injury claims, the majority of which are ‘whiplash claims’. The reforms apply to claims arising from an RTA valued at less that £5,000. These changes mean you will have the opportunity to settle these small claims online without the need to go to court or for legal representation.
Making a Claim
To make a claim you should:
- Use the Official Injury Claim service. The service is free for claimants to use and has been carefully designed to provide you with an accessible, user-friendly digital system, supported by guidance.
- If you do not have access to, or are unable to use the online service, you can also seek assistance via the Portal Support Centre by calling 0800 118 1631.
- You can find a high level overview which explains the process of making a claim in the documents section above. This includes sections on the evidence required to make a claim, getting medical evidence, signing statements of truth and settling with the other party.
- You may also find the Official Injury Claim ‘Guide to Making a Claim’ helpful. You do not need to read the whole guide before making a claim but you can refer to specific parts of it to support you through the process of making a personal injury claim using the OIC service.
The reforms apply to claims arising from RTAs which occur in England & Wales on or after 31 May 2021. Claims arising from RTAs before this date will remain subject to the old rules.
For further details on eligibility and exceptions, visit sections 4.1 and 4.2 of the ‘Guide to Making a Claim’.
Whiplash Reform Programme changes
These changes have been made as part of a package of measures under the Whiplash Reform Programme which tackles the high number and costs of whiplash claims, and the impact these have on the cost of motor insurance premiums. This will help motorists save around £35 a year on their insurance.
The Whiplash Reform Programme package of measures includes:
- a fixed tariff of compensation for whiplash injuries that last up to 2 years. This tariff will provide clarity and certainty to claimants about the amount of personal injury damages they will receive for whiplash injuries.
- a ban on settling whiplash claims without medical evidence. The Official Injury Claim service will enable claimants to source medical reports to ensure claims are supported by medical evidence before settlement.
- an increase to the Small Claims Track (SCT) limit for RTA related Personal Injury claims from £1,000 to £5,000 via amendments to the Civil Procedure Rules. This means that the majority of such claims will now proceed through the cheaper Small Claims Track, where each party is responsible for paying their own legal costs.
- the Official Injury Claim service to enable all claimants, with or without legal representation, to make and settle their own claim.
Options if you cannot settle your claim in the OIC Service, or a dispute arises
The aim of the OIC service is to help avoid or reduce the need to go to court, if possible and appropriate. However, if you have tried to settle your claim through the service but are still not content, you can ask the court to determine your claim.
The service has been designed to support some elements of the process for going to court, for example, preparation of the forms for court. Other court processes sit outside the portal. You should also note that if you win in court, your claim may be re-opened on the portal.
For further details of the court process, section 6.6.3 of the ‘Guide to Making a Claim’ includes relevant guidance on ‘going to court’. Guidance on how court fees apply to these claims can be found here.
Supporting Information and Links
The ‘Guide to Making a Claim’ is designed to support claimants when making a personal injury claim using the Official Injury Claim portal. The guide explains the key terms and procedures used in the legal framework that underpins this service - the RTA Small Claims Pre-Action Protocol. It also details what can be claimed for and describes the steps involved, as well as providing more information about the underlying legislation (for example, the Pre-Action Protocol). You do not need to read the entire guide before making a claim, but it has been designed for users to refer to if they require additional support of parts of the process.
You can also contact the Portal Support Centre on 0800 118 1631 which will ordinarily be open from 09:00-17:00hrs on weekdays, excluding bank holidays.
The tariff sets out the base level compensation for various injuries can be found on the legislation website.
Two further guides are also available for users to help them navigate the new online system and, where necessary, the court process. These are the Guide to Changes to the Small Claims Limit for Injury Claims (Referring to Part 26 of the Civil Procedure Rules); and the Guide to Practice Direction 27B.
If you wish to find out more about the service you can visit the official OIC website, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn or YouTube.
Data on the operation of Official Injury Claim is now available and is published on a quarterly basis.
The statistics presented in this publication are generated by the Official Injury Claim service and are currently published on the Official Injury Claim website. We are however, exploring whether to publish future releases on GOV.UK and will inform stakeholders of any changes to the schedule and/or location of this data on these pages and via stakeholder alerts. If you would like to receive stakeholder alerts from MOJ in relation to these reforms please send an email request to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Other relevant and contextual data related to the personal injury claims process is also available from other sources such as:
- DWP Compensation Recovery Unit
- Claims Portal