Call for Evidence
Whiplash Reform and the Official Injury Claim service
The whiplash reforms, which formed part of the Civil Liability Act 2018, are a package of measures designed to reduce the disproportionately high number and cost of whiplash claims in England and Wales. At the time of consultation in 2016, the Government stated whiplash claims were costing the country £2billion a year, an average of £90 per motor insurance policy. It was estimated that the measures introduced under the Whiplash Reform Programme would remove £1billion from the cost of providing motor insurance, with the insurance industry passing on any savings to motorists (estimated at £40 or £50 per motor insurance policy).
As part of the reforms the Ministry of Justice commissioned the Motor Insurance Bureau to develop an online portal; Official Injury Claim, for managing low value road traffic accident claims. The reform programme additionally introduced a legal definition of whiplash injury, increased the small claims track from £1000 to £5,000 (meaning any legal costs are not recoverable from the compensating insurer except in limited cases), banned the settlement of claims without the provision of medical evidence and introduced a new tariff of fixed compensation for whiplash injuries.
Our predecessor Committee’s 2018 inquiry on the small claims limit for personal injury considered the impact of raising the small claims track for Road Traffic Accident (RTA) personal injury claims.
Official Injury Claim (OIC) is a free and independent service designed to support individuals who have suffered minor injuries arising from an RTA to claim compensation, without the need for legal help. Examples of minor injuries include soft tissue injuries (whiplash), bruising and minor fractures. The OIC allows claimants to raise and settle their own Personal Injury (PI) claims without the need to take Court action. Under the OIC a maximum injury value of £5,000 may be claimed for, and the total value of the claim must not exceed £10,000 (when including additional expenses such as loss of earnings).
The online portal is described by the MOJ as providing a fair, accessible and efficient system for all claimants. Figures produced up until December 2022 reveal that, since its launch in May 2021, 424,835 claims were submitted via the OIC portal. Of these 38,438 (9%) of claims were brought by unrepresented claimants, whilst 386,397 (91%) of claimants sought legal representation. 76,873 claims have been settled since the launch of the service.
Please send submissions of no more than 3,000 words through the online portal by 5pm on Friday 17 March 2023.
Terms of reference
The Committee invites evidence on:
- What effect have the measures introduced within the whiplash reform programme had on the number of minor personal injury claims to date?
- To what extent have these measures met the Government’s objective of reducing the cost of whiplash claims to the economy; and to what extent are any savings being passed on to motorists through lower insurance premiums?
- What have been the effects of raising the small claims track limit from £1,000 to £5,000; the ban on settling whiplash claims without medical evidence; and the fixed tariff of compensation for whiplash injuries that last up to 2 years?
- Why most claimants continue to use legal representation when using the online portal (90% since its launch)?
- Whether the OIC portal is accessible and easy-to-use for claimants and/or their legal representatives;
- Whether claims brought using the OIC are being settled in a timely manner, if timeliness could be improved upon; and if so, how?
- Whether the OIC ensures access to justice for everyone who may seek to make a claim?
- How widely known is the OIC and how are potential claimants made aware of its existence?
- How effective is the OIC portal in settling claims for mixed injury claims, which cannot be settled using the fixed tariff awards?
- Any other issues in relation to the implementation of the whiplash reform programme and operation of the OIC to date
Important information about making a submission
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Written evidence must address the terms of reference as set out above, but please note that submissions do not have to address every point. Guidance on giving evidence to a select committee of the House of Commons is available here.
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This call for written evidence has now closed.Go back to Whiplash Reform and the Official Injury Claim service Inquiry