Civil Liability Act 2018: Changes to Road Traffic Accident Claims

Laws around how road traffic accident claims have changed. This is how it might affect you.


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On 31 May 2021, the law around road traffic accident compensation claims changed. It was the result of the Civil Liability Act 2018.

It has meant a great deal of changes to the way road traffic accident claims are processed, as well as the compensation you are now entitled to for these claims.

What is the Civil Liability Act 2018?

The Civil Liability Act – also known as the whiplash reforms – were brought into law to try to reduce the number of whiplash claims being made in the UK.

According to the Motor Insurers’ Bureau (MIB), “the cost of compensation for low value whiplash injuries caused by road traffic accidents has increased motor insurance premiums”.

The MIB explained that the government is trying to lower the number of claims made to bring down insurance policy costs.

However, there has been doubt expressed by the legal industry. The Society of Claims Professionals said: “Insurers have promised to return the savings to consumers in more competitive premiums, but given potential for increased costs and gaming elsewhere, it is doubtful whether the savings envisaged will materialise to be there to be passed on at all. We shall see.”

Changes to compensation

The biggest way you will be affected by the changes is a decrease in the compensation you’ll receive for whiplash. Since it is one of the most common injuries caused by road traffic accidents, this could have an impact on a lot of people.

Before the new laws came in, whiplash compensation was significantly higher than it is for anyone who had a car accident on or after 31 May 2021.

You would previously have been entitled to £2,150 for a whiplash injury lasting up to three months. You would now receive £240. Meanwhile, for an injury lasting up to two years, you could previously have received up to £6,920 in compensation. This has been reduced to £4,215 for a two-year injury.


Before Civil Liability Act

After Civil Liability Act

Injury Lasting 3 Months



Injury Lasting 12 Months



Injury Lasting 24 Months



Changes to No Win No Fee

You’ll also find that the amount you pay your solicitor for a No Win No Fee claim will be different. Previously, you would have paid a success fee of 25% if you won your claim. Now, if your claim is successful, your solicitor will usually receive a fee of 35% of your final compensation amount plus VAT.

As insurer Allianz explains, this is because of the changes to the small claims limit. The limit has increased from £1,000 to £5,000. This means that if you hire a solicitor to manage your claim, they won’t be able to recover their fees from the other side if the claim is for less than £5,000. This means that legal fees will have to increase.

But claims on behalf of children and protected parties and those made by vulnerable road users – including pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists – won’t be affected by these changes.


Only pay a fee if you receive compensation

Where we offer No Win No Fee services for road traffic accident claims typically customers pay 35% + VAT of the amount recovered by our solicitors. Success fees are common practice and they were introduced when the law changed in April 2013. This amount is higher than the normal 25% on other personal injury claims because of changes introduced through the Civil Liability Act 2018.

Other changes

As part of any road traffic accident, you will now need to have a medical assessment. This will show how severe your injury has been and how long your recovery process is expected to last.

You will also have to submit your claim through an online portal. This can be done yourself – which makes you a litigant in person – or with the help of a legal representative. It may become more difficult to find solicitors who are able to take on these claims due to the higher small claims limit.

The changes mean you’ll also have to value your own claim. Any claims that would receive up to £5,000 in compensation for injuries or £10,000 for injuries and losses, including loss of earnings or damage to your personal property, will have to be submitted through the portal.

Is help still available?

Although the changes to the law might make it seem like there is no help available for victims of road traffic accidents, First4Lawyers is still here to give you the chance to get justice for the pain and suffering you’ve been through.

Our solicitors could guide you through the process of claiming by managing your submission to the portal.

If you need help after a road traffic accident, just get in touch to find out more about what we can do for you. Give us a call or start your claim online and we’ll take it from there.


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