Personal injury claim rules: recent changes explained

In light of the most recent modifications to the regulations governing claims, handling a personal injury claim – whiplash injuries in particular – may be a daunting and stressful process. The set rates and higher small claims limitations might make you feel disoriented and uncertain about how to get the money you’re due. Having an informed professional on your side is crucial during this trying time. Continue reading to get all the information you need to handle the complexities of the claims process and maximize your due compensation.

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Don’t let the new personal injury rules shortchange your claim. Read on to understand the major changes!

Why have the personal injury claim rules changed?

The UK government has decided to change the rules for personal injury claims, especially those related to whiplash injuries, starting from May 31, 2021. They made this decision because they were worried about the growing number of whiplash claims and the high costs associated with them.

The government wanted to find a balance between two important things:

  1. Making sure that people with genuine injuries can still get the compensation they deserve, and
  2. Reducing the overall cost of these claims and discouraging people from making fake or exaggerated claims.

To achieve this, they have introduced new measures like fixed amounts for whiplash injury compensation and increased the limit for claims that can be handled in the small claims court. By doing this, they hope to make the claims process simpler, quicker, and less expensive for everyone involved. These changes are designed to create a fairer system that helps people with real injuries while also tackling the problem of fraudulent or inflated claims.

What are whiplash injuries?
Whiplash injuries are soft tissue injuries to the neck, back, or shoulder caused by sudden movement of the head and neck, typically in motor vehicle accidents.

What were the personal injury claim rules introduced in 2021?

The UK’s claims procedure saw several major modifications as a result of the introduction of the personal injury claim regulations in 2021. Among these adjustments were:

  1. Increased small claims track limit: The limit has been raised to £5,000 for road traffic accident (RTA) related claims and £2,000 for other personal injury claims.
  2. Fixed tariffs for whiplash injuries: Compensation now ranges from £240 for injuries lasting up to 3 months, to £4,345 for those lasting 18-24 months, with a separate column for cases involving minor psychological injuries.
  3. Introduction of the Official Injury Claim (OIC) portal: This online service allows users to submit and manage claims without legal representation, and is designed to be user-friendly and accessible, with support available through the Portal Support Centre.
  4. Exceptions for vulnerable road users and certain complex cases: Vulnerable road users (e.g., pedestrians, cyclists) are exempt from the increased small claims track limit for RTA-related claims, claims involving children or protected parties are not subject to the new rules, and complex cases (e.g., clinical negligence) are allocated to the multi-track.

While the focus here is primarily on whiplash and similar injuries due to road traffic accidents, it’s important to remember that other significant types of personal injuries, such as birth injuries, require careful legal consideration due to their complex and sensitive nature.

These new rules aim to streamline the claims process, reduce the cost of whiplash claims, and provide greater certainty and consistency in the compensation awarded for such injuries.

What are the key differences between the old and new personal injury claim rules?

The recent personal injury claim rules introduced several significant changes that distinguish them from the old rules. The key differences include:

  • Small claims track limit: Under the old rules, the limit was £1,000 for personal injury claims and £10,000 for other claims.
  • Whiplash injury compensation: The old rules relied on a case-by-case assessment guided by the Judicial College Guidelines.
  • Claims submission process: Traditionally, claims were submitted using methods such as paperwork and email.
  • Legal representation: Under the old rules, it was easier to recover legal costs for claims above the small claims track limit.
  • Exceptions: The old rules did not have specific exceptions for vulnerable road users or complex cases.

These changes represent a significant shift in the personal injury claim landscape, affecting claimants, solicitors, and the overall claims process in the UK.

While the new tariffs target whiplash injuries, other injuries continue to be valued using the Judicial College Guidelines. These guidelines provide compensation ranges based on factors like severity and duration. Claimants must report all injuries to ensure proper compensation.

How did the personal injury claim rules introduced in 2021 impact compensation?

The personal injury claim rules that came into effect on May 31, 2021, significantly reduced compensation for whiplash injuries. Compensation was determined by a fixed tariff based on the injury duration, with no room for negotiation. Some claimants reported receiving 80-90% less than they would have under the old rules.

The new rules apply if:

  1. You’re 18 or older.
  2. Your total claim value is less than £10,000.
  3. Your accident was on or after May 31, 2021.
  4. Your whiplash injury is valued at less than £5,000 by a medical expert.
Consult a personal injury solicitor to understand how these changes may affect your claim and to ensure you receive the maximum compensation available.

What potential changes are looming for personal injury law?

The government and Civil Justice Council are actively considering a range of revisions to personal injury law rules, aiming to streamline processes and enhance accessibility for claimants. These potential changes encompass various aspects, including:

  • Simplification of rules on pre-action disclosure requirements for defendants.
  • Revisions to the complex and restrictive rules surrounding third-party funding.
  • Changes to the restrictive rules around after-the-event (ATE) insurance coverage.
  • Reforms to the complex rules determining who is responsible for paying legal costs.
  • Simplification of the rules on apportionment of blame between claimants and defendants.
  • Modifications to the rules governing conditional fee agreements (CFAs) between lawyers and clients.
  • Clarification and simplification of the definition of “serious injury” for qualifying for special damages.
  • Changes to the limitation period for personal injury claims, potentially extending it from 3 years to 5 years.
  • Adjustments to the discount rate used to calculate present value of future losses, which could increase from 2.5% to 3.5%.

Do I still need a solicitor for my personal injury claim?

Absolutely! While the new rules and tariffs for whiplash injuries have tightened the compensation landscape, having an experienced solicitor by your side remains invaluable. They seamlessly integrate with the Official Injury Claim portal, ensuring you don’t have to navigate the complexities alone. Their expertise guarantees you receive the maximum compensation possible under the revised guidelines.

Our experienced solicitors are up-to-date on all the latest changes and can ensure you receive the maximum compensation you deserve. From understanding the new whiplash tariffs to expertly handling the Official Injury Claim portal, our legal professionals will guide you every step of the way. Protect your rights and maximize your claim – consult our trusted list of personal injury solicitors today.


What is the time limit for filing a personal injury claim? The time limit is still three years from the accident date or date of knowledge of the injury.

Will the new rules affect claims for injuries that occurred before May 31, 2021? Claims for accidents before May 31, 2021 will follow the old rules.

What other injury types have been re-classified as small claims? Simple nose fractures, simple cheekbone fractures, partial loss of little finger, and minor hand injuries now fall under the small claims track.

Do I need a lawyer for claims made prior to the new rules? For pre-May 31, 2021 claims, legal representation can still be beneficial to maximize compensation under the old rules.

Am I still able to claim for injuries below the new small claims limit? Yes, you can still claim for injuries below the new small claims limit. However, it may be more difficult to find legal representation, and you might need to use the Official Injury Claim portal to handle your claim without a solicitor.

Can I still get legal help for my claim under the new rules? Yes, legal assistance is still available, but the new rules make it harder for solicitors to recover costs in lower-value claims. Some firms now offer support for claimants using the Official Injury Claim portal.

Handling an injury and figuring out the compensation procedure may be stressful and annoying. You don’t have to take on this task by yourself, though. Seek advice from knowledgeable experts who can explain the new regulations to you and help you fight for the pay you are due. You may feel more secure in demanding what you’re entitled to and concentrate on your rehabilitation with the correct assistance and knowledge.

Key Takeaways:

  • The UK government changed personal injury claim rules from May 31, 2021, especially for whiplash injuries, to reduce costs and discourage fraudulent claims.
  • New rules include increased small claims track limits, fixed tariffs for whiplash compensation, an online Official Injury Claim portal, and exceptions for vulnerable road users.
  • Compensation for whiplash injuries is significantly reduced under the new tariff system compared to the old case-by-case assessments.
  • Other injuries besides whiplash continue to be valued using Judicial College Guidelines based on severity and duration.
  • Potential further changes being considered include extending limitation periods, altering discount rates, simplifying rules around funding, insurance, and legal costs.
  • Having an experienced solicitor remains valuable to maximize compensation within the revised rules and processes like the OIC portal.

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