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Many things have changed in the Personal Injury compensation claims process since the Jackson Reforms and LASPO Act came in to effect April 2013, but one thing that has remained the same is the limitation period – how long you have to make your claim in the months after you suffer an injury. As I write, the rules regarding claiming remain that you have 3 years from the date of an accident or until your 21st Birthday (whichever is longer) in which you must register your claim in the courts. If you fail to do so within that time, you will be statute barred and unable to do anything.
As far as anyone knows, there are no immediate plans to change this rule or reduce the amount of time anyone has to claim compensation for injuries. However, as always, claimants are under pressure like never before with those who have a vested interest in paying out less compensation to less personal injury claimants continuing to push the compensation culture myth line in the hope that it will somehow force claimants away from pursuing what is rightfully theirs, with whiplash claimants under particular pressure not to claim. It seems that the biggest area where claimants are under the microscope is again whiplash. Many still want to portray it as a made up injury, with no proof that it exists – even though such views have been discredited. But should or do you need to claim quickly? Of course, it is always best for all parties concerned when a claim is made earlier. This tends to allow evidence to be obtained more easily, proof to be more identifiable and records to be located. The most important thing for any injury victim to do is to seek medical attention and allow some time for recovery and calm.
However, anyone who has been in a car accident and is suffering from pain and discomfort may well be unsure if they have a whiplash or what it is and by the nature of this, it is often some months post accident before people are sure of their injuries and whether they wish to claim.
To this end, I was shocked to hear James Dalton who is one of the head honcho’s at the Association of British Insurers claim on BBC 5Live that whiplash compensation claimants should be made to apply for their compensation more quickly than the current 3 year time frame. His argument was that if this was the case, whiplash injuries could be proven as they would still be present. However, this is a load of twaddle. If the ABI insist on people proving their injury, that is fine – all claimants will have seen their GP or gone to A&E and if they then waited a year or more before claiming there would be no problem as medical records could be referred to and used in the claim. There is no reason to place more pressure on non-fault injury victims and this possible change was only mooted after a group of MPs suggested that Insurers should be banned from paying out compensation for injuries without a claimant having been made to undergo a medical exam first. I have no problem with this per say, except that it will inflate costs as in some circumstances, it is obvious that an injury would have followed without medical evidence being so urgently needed.