Following the election and just like Brexit, the battle over the Whiplash reforms is over. Those in the Personal Injury sector accept the reforms are coming in, but when?
If you keep a close eye on the media you might think these reforms will not be ready to go live in April 2020. The centrepiece of the government reforms is an online portal, designed to allow injured people to make their own claims quickly and easily.
The Ministry of justice has instructed the MIB to manage and deliver the new public service to support the whiplash reforms. The MIB is ultimately funded by part of every insured driver’s premiums. This portal is still due to go live in April 2020.
According to the insurers the reforms will cut Fraud resulting in lower premiums for customers because the reforms will take away the financial incentives to make a claim.
The new tariffs for injury will take pain and suffering for 3-6 months and put it on the same level as a few hours delay on a train.
Although the portal is still on course to be delivered by April 2020, it does seem that work to amend the Civil Procedure Rules has stalled. The relevant committee had not discussed the proposals for new rules and a protocol as at November 2019.
The MOJ is working with the Civil Procedure Rule Committee to develop the protocol and rule changes for the reform programme. According to the latest update from the MIB, the registration window for registering to use the new scheme will open on the 22nd January 2020 for Claimant’s and Compensators.
In December, the portal had continued to be built and developed. The MIB completed the 1 st of 2 testing phases.
It appears the portal progress is pressing ahead but there is little sign of progress on the pre action protocol rules. It is in the interests of the insurers for the online portal to go live in April and it is safe to assume that this will be delivered on time. The MOJ could move quickly to get the rule changes done before April 2020.
The danger is that the reforms will be with us with little or no time to test the system or set up integration with it.
For those of us in the Personal Injury sector, this will not be the first time that major reforms have been introduced without us having time to properly plan and prepare.