The Whiplash Reform Programme came into force on 31st May 2021 as a result of the Civil Liability Act 2018. The reforms change the way in which RTA whiplash claims are handled. The main changes introduced include:
- The introduction of a fixed tariff for whiplash injuries sustained as the result of an RTA. This tariff will be split into two categories; the upper tariff, which will include both whiplash injuries and minor psychological injuries, and the lower tariff, which will be designated to claimants with only whiplash injuries. The tariffs were set by the Lord Chancellor to control costs and to ensure that compensation is proportionate.
- The extension of the small claims track limit for road traffic personal injury claims from £1,000 to £5,000. This limit applies only to the figure for pain, suffering and loss of amenity resulting from the injury. For the value of entirety of the claim, the small claims track limit will remain at £10,000.
- A ban on RTA whiplash claims being settled without medical evidence; this means that all claimants will be required to have an examination with a medical expert and obtain a medical report to document the extent of their injuries.
- The introduction of the Official Injury Claim Portal, which allows claimants to represent themselves in these types of cases.
The outcome of the 31 May 2021 reforms for the Claimant may means that legal costs are not recoverable, and thus, some may find it difficult to obtain legal representation for their case.
The Ministry of Justice have provided a “Guide to Making a Claim” for self-representing claimants, and have also provided a “Guide to Practice Direction 27B ” to help them understand the court process.
How have the reforms impacted the market?
The RTA whiplash reforms have had a major impact on the market and have led to many challenges for claimant personal injury solicitors in the RTA market.
There has been an overall reduction in RTA claims; also impacted by the pandemic which has contributed to this reduction as there were less cars on the roads during lockdown periods and consequently fewer accidents.
Some claimant solicitors have adapted well to the changes, and it is suggested that around 90% of claimants are still being represented in these types of cases.
As solicitors are no longer able to recover their costs for whiplash cases, many have introduced contingency fees which are payable by the successful claimant, with some firms setting their rate as high as 35% of damages.
For many in the RTA market, the challenges of these reforms in combination with the potential of clinical negligence reforms have led to them considering their options, with an overall increase in solicitors wishing to exit the RTA market due to reduced profits.
Options for those looking to exit the RTA market
If the RTA whiplash reforms have led to you questioning your firm’s future in the RTA market, it is important to note that there are many viable routes to help you leave the market. Some of your options for leaving the market include:
- An outright sale – If you run a law firm focused solely on RTA, you could sell your firm to a single purchaser; however, this will usually involve a heavy discount and you will rarely obtain the true value for your work in progress.
- Restructuring – You may wish to restructure your law firm and exit the RTA market to focus on more profitable areas of law. Restructuring will usually involve running off your RTA files and selling WIP to a single purchaser at a discounted rate or using R&R Solutions to exit the market and realise your true WIP value.
- Phased exit – Most exits from a legal market will involve some sort of phased strategy. The R&R Solutions model allows you to leave the RTA market using a phased approach. Using this approach allows the staff in the exiting department to focus solely on the files which are capable of settlement before a target date. This is achieved by identifying files which are unlikely to settle before this target date and transferring those files to our panel of solicitors early using our usual file runoff methodology. Further reviews of files may take place throughout the process and where appropriate those files transferred to the panel at any point, with the remaining files being transferred 4 weeks before the target date.
- Merging/ not continuing in RTA – You may wish to consider merging your firm with another. Using R&R Solutions will allow you to offload your RTA files before the merger takes places, whilst ensuring you get the full value of your work in progress.
Why Choose R&R Solutions?
R&R Solutions offers a unique service to any law firm wishing to exit any market. We provide a positive option for those wanting a structured exit from the RTA market following the RTA whiplash reforms.
Typically, those exiting are taken down a path of selling their WIP in bulk to a single purchaser, often at a heavy discount. At R&R Solutions, we offer an alternative approach to ensure you retain the recoverable value of your WIP in a fully outsourced, managed, and compliant run-off, plus an entitlement to an equivalent proportion of the success fee / deduction from damages.
The unique scheme offered by R&R Solutions is suitable for both law firms and professional advisors. Our team manage the transfer of files from start to finish; placing case files with an approved panel law firm to protect the integrity of the client’s case, while at the same time maximising the value of the work in progress.
We guarantee 100% confidentiality for all clients.
If you would like to find out more about R&R Solutions’ process, please get in touch on a confidential basis direct via email firstname.lastname@example.org, telephone 07887796989, or contact Sally Dunscombe at email@example.com or 07774 205 870.
Retirement Project - Grant Saw Solicitors LLP
“With our claimant personal injury partner retiring in we decided the time was right to step back from PI work. We reviewed the market options, were disappointed at the discounts being applied by potential buyers of the WIP and were referred to R&R’s offering the full realisation of WIP over time. It has effectively delivered what it “said on the tin” - over the project period we have seen a steady flow of receipts being accounted for to us, allowing us to recover the full value we had built up in the files."
- Mike Clary, Partner
Restructuring Project - Copley Clark
“Having taken a strategic decision to be completely step out of the claimant personal injury sector we were R&R’s first client to step back on a phased basis. R&R customised their offering specifically for us and I am happy to say it has worked a treat. We could focus our own resource on matters where we had a possibility of concluding within our timetable and utilised R&R’s panel firms to continue to work on other matters. Not only have their services allowed us to retain the value we had built in the files, the nature of the services ensured we were able to offer our clients the option of moving to firms with the skill sets required to best service their specific needs. For firms considering restructuring we would have no hesitation recommending R&R Solutions."
- Malcolm Lawrence, Partner
Restructuring Project - Farley Dwek Solicitors
" We had an extremely positive experience working with R&R Solutions after making the strategic decision to move away from an area of law and retune our business model. The process was very straightforward, and we were really pleased with the overall outcome. We would highly recommend the Recovery First model as a practical solution to any law firm wishing to exit a specific sector.”
Jonathan Dwek, Director
Ticking all the boxes for a quick, clean, confident exit from legal markets due to restructuring or retirement.
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