From this April, compensation claims for car crashes are going to change. Due to fears of fraudulent claims, adults will have access to a new online portal that children will not be able to use.
Car crashes, as anyone who’s been in one will tell you, are scary events. One minute you’re enjoying the radio and the next you’re checking to see if you’re OK. Whiplash is a very real a painful threat and naturally, you look for someone to blame. But fraudulent claims have led the government to reform the way in which you can go about seeking justice.
The current rules
At present, if you suffer from whiplash or other crash-related injuries, you’re disputes are settled in court or through your insurers. One side may take responsibility and then a claim is made through their insurance for appropriate damages. If a responsible party is not established, the dispute is taken to court to be settled.
However, too often, people make false claims about injuries for an easy payout. That is why the government have created a new system to allow people to make these claims.
The new system
From April of 2020, anybody looking to make a claim will be able to do so through an online portal. This is done because the limit for the small claims court is being increased from £1000 to £5000 so most of these claims would fall under this minimum threshold. The government also wishes to introduce tariffs for how much to payout in these cases. If this is below the minimum claim for the small claims court, we will see only very occasional cases to make it there.
What does that mean for those concerned? Firstly, it means that anybody looking to guarantee legal council for their claim doesn’t have long. Secondly, there may be far fewer claims being made. Many adults who are less computer literate will likely not know how to make a claim or where to look for that information. Having to do things online at all many find more difficult if the process is not very obvious.
And there is another consequence that we have not yet discussed.
What about children?
The introduction of this process means that very few claims will make it to the small claims court, and this reduces the willingness for lawyers to represent people in these cases. However, children will not be able to use the new online portal as it is for 18s and over. That leaves children, or adults looking to claim for their children in a tough situation.
Whatever the case, it seems that this is another case in a long line of encouraging self-processing for claims. We are likely to continue to see more changes like this with the further adjustments to processes in line with this goal.