By: 10 April 2024
CILEX criticises whiplash compensation as “derisory and unfair”

Whiplash compensation awarded for pain, suffering and loss of amenity (PSLA) is “derisory and unfair” and fails to fully compensate claimants, says CILEX (the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives).


Concerns around compensation

The current tariff system splits whiplash cases into ‘whiplash only’ and ‘whiplash plus minor psychological injuries’. This is not a suitable approach, CILEX argues. Instead, where any psychological injury is present, “the injury should escape from the tariff” given the complexity surrounding such injuries and the potential impact on claimants, their financial position and family members.

It also argued that whiplash injuries lasting over three months were likely to be complex and continue indefinitely and as such should also be excluded from the tariff.

Responding to a call for evidence by the Ministry of Justice as part of its statutory review of the whiplash tariff, CILEX highlights that for those whose injury duration was less than three months, the uplift in compensation where there is also a psychological injury stood at “a mere £20”.

CILEX says that if the government “is adamant that the tariff’s structure regarding the inclusion of minor psychological injury should be retained”, then a 10% uplift should be standardised across all injury durations – higher than now. This would reflect the complexity of psychological injury and be “more representative of current legal practice where an adjustment is made when multiple injuries occur”.

The response also raises concerns that the possibility of differing prognoses for physical and psychological injuries is not reflected in the tariff.


CILEX’s research

CILEX has over 2,700 members working in personal injury. They reported in a CILEX survey that the volume of whiplash settlements has fallen since the introduction of the tariff. Members raised concerns about law firms retreating from personal injury work “as whiplash claims become uneconomic to pursue”.

Despite the number of claims falling significantly since the Official Injury Claim portal was introduced three years ago, the government’s stated rationale for its introduction – the reduction of insurance premiums – has not materialised, with motor insurance premiums 34% higher compared to the previous 12-month.

CILEX president Emma Davies commented: “Psychological injury can be complex, may be longer lasting than the accompanying physical injury and can have a significant impact on a claimant’s ability to work and on their relationships with family. This is not reflected in current compensation levels which are set at a derisory level.

“Including psychological injuries as part of the whiplash tariff structure is insufficient, risking a serious undercompensation of injured parties. Where verifiable psychological injury is experienced alongside whiplash, we would like to see cases excluded from the tariff system altogether.”


Emma Cockings
Emma is a content editor for Claims Media. Emma is a experienced writer with a background in client-centric personal injury for a major firm. She has attended and reported on multiple brokerage events throughout her career.