whiplash claim payout

Whiplash Claim Payout Amounts For Road Accidents From 31 May 2021

On the 31 May 2021 some sweeping reforms came into effect for road traffic accident claims – introducing a fixed compensation tariff for whiplash claim payouts. The tariff sets out the exact figures for how much compensation you can recover for whiplash injuries in a road accident.

In this article you will learn what this scheme is; how the definition of a whiplash injury has been extended to include neck, back, shoulder and minor psychological injury; the types of road accident that are covered by the scheme; which parts of the UK it applies to; the compensation payout amounts you can claim for various types of whiplash injury and the medical evidence you will need to show how bad your whiplash injury is.

We start with a quick payout amounts calculation table, but recommend you see our calculation explanations shown later in the article.

Average Whiplash Compensation Payout Table

Remember – this table only applies to whiplash injuries in certain types of road accidents occurring on or after the 31 May 2021. For whiplash injuries experienced in other types of accidents (such as work accidents) or in road accidents prior to 31 May 2021, see our neck injury claims article.

(Symptom Duration)
(Accidents From 31.05.2021
+ Minor Psychological
Up to 3 months£240£260
3 – 6 months£495£520
6 – 9 months£840£895
9 – 12 months£1,320£1,390
12 – 15 months£2,040£2,125
15 – 18 months£3,005£3,100
18 – 24 months£4,125£4,345

What is the road traffic accident tariff for whiplash claim payout amounts?

The road traffic accident whiplash claim payout tariff is a set of fixed compensation amounts decided by the government for whiplash injuries. Your whiplash injuries must be suffered in a road accident with symptoms lasting up to 2 years to be included in the tariff.

If your injury is not experienced in a road accident – such as in an accident at work or a highway trip and slip, then the sums you will recover will be determined in the more generous way by caselaw and judicial guidance – see our neck injury claim article.

What is classed as a whiplash injury for your compensation payout to be calculated using the RTA whiplash tariff?

A whiplash injury falls within a very specific definition to allow your whiplash claim payout to be calculated using the road accident whiplash tariff.

A whiplash is “A soft tissue injury in the neck, back or shoulder, including a sprain, strain, tear, rupture or lesser damage of a muscle, tendon or ligament (in the neck, back or shoulder).”

It does not however include a soft tissue injury connected with another injury. For example:  if you dislocated your shoulder or broke your arm in a road accident and had associated soft tissue injury to your neck and shoulder – soft tissue injury this would not be classed as a whiplash limited by the road accident whiplash tariff. The full whiplash definition is set out in the Civil liability Act 2018.

Please note – prior to 31 May 2021 – we had defined whiplash in its general sense in our car accident compensation article.

What types of road accident claim are included in the whiplash tariff?

For your whiplash injury claim to be calculated using the whiplash tariff:

“You must suffer a whiplash injury whilst either using or being carried in or on a motor vehicle on a road or other public place in England or Wales and your injury must have been caused as a result of negligence by someone using a motor vehicle on a road or other public place.”

To better explain the meaning – we will look at the different elements in sequence:

You were injured whilst using or being carried in or on a motor vehicle

This is a catch-all to include when you are a driver or a passenger. It also specifically includes when you are getting into or out of the vehicle at the time the accident occurs.

A motor vehicle is classed a mechanically propelled vehicle designed for use on roads, such as a car, lorry, van, etc. This includes vehicles adapted to be used on roads (for example a tractor). It does not however include motor bikes. If you suffer injury on a motorcycle (either as a driver or pillion passenger) your injuries will be calculated using the more generous compensation awards as determined by caselaw and judicial guidance.

Used on a road or other public place

This includes a highway (such as residential road, town or country road, motorway, bridges over roads, etc). it can also include public places, such as a supermarket or shopping centre carparks (even if they are in theory private land – as the public have access to them).

Must be in England and Wales

The law introducing the road accident whiplash tariff settlement awards only applies to accidents in England and Wales and not the other parts of the United Kingdom, so Scotland and Northern Ireland are not included.

Negligence of someone using a motor vehicle

This negligence might be a driver error (for example – jumping a red traffic light) or a passenger error (such as a passenger opening a door on a passing car). It may include a negligent omission – such as failing to brake when the car in front has to stop suddenly.

Watch out – tariff compensation payouts are used to calculate claims when both you and another driver are at fault (consider a 50/50 claim).

What if your whiplash injury is not caused in a road accident?

If the whiplash, neck or shoulder injury is not experienced in a road accident – such as in a trip or slip accident, accident at work, etc, then the whiplash claim payout tariff does not apply and your whiplash claim is calculated in a much more generous way governed by caselaw and judicial guidance.

You can see the sums you would expect for whiplash in these instances in our neck injury compensation, back injury claim and shoulder injury articles.

What if your road accident occurred in Scotland or Northern Ireland?

If you suffered whiplash in Scotland or Northern Ireland the whiplash tariff scheme will not apply and the sums that you would recover are calculated based on caselaw of the respective countries.

The new whiplash tariff applies in England and Wales only and not throughout the whole of the UK.

whiplash claim compensation payout
Whiplash Claim Compensation Payout

What are the compensation payout sums that you can recover for whiplash in England and Wales from 31 May 2021?

Be aware: The tariff of compensation amounts gives two payout figures for each period of time you experience symptoms. the figures depend on whether you also suffered a minor psychological injury in addition to a whiplash injury. If however your psychological injury is more severe, such as post traumatic stress – a different basis of calculation of your compensation payout may be necessary.

Road accidents that occur on or after 31 May 2021 will give rise to the following awards for pain and suffering compensation (known as general damages):

Whiplash In A RTA Lasting For Up To 3 Months

A whiplash neck, back or shoulder injury with symptoms of pain lasting no longer than 3 months – with a complete recovery from the injury, attracts a compensation amount of £240.

If the whiplash also includes a minor psychological injury, such as a travel anxiety, you would received a slight increase in your compensation payout to £260.

Road Accident Whiplash With Symptoms Lasting Between 3 & 6 Months

A soft tissue whiplash type injury to your neck, back or shoulder lasting longer than 3 months, but with a complete recovery within 6 months – will allow your compensation for pain and suffering to be calculated at £495.

The same whiplash  injury coupled with a mild psychological injury would lead to a compensation payout of £520.

Symptoms Of Neck, Back Or Shoulder Lasting Between 6 Months – 9 Months

A whiplash injury causing pain and suffering symptoms lasting from between 6 to 9 months from the road traffic accident event – would attract a whiplash claim payout settlement of £840.

If the same neck, back or shoulder injury is associated with a mild psychological injury – you would have an increased compensation payout of £895.

Whiplash Injuries With Symptoms Lasting Between 9 Months and 12 Months

Soft tissue injuries to your neck, shoulder or back in a motor vehicle accident lasting between 9 -12 months, would allow you to recover compensation monies of £1,320.

The same injury with a minor psychological damage would result in you claim for pain and suffering general damages to be calculated at £1,390.

Road Accident Whiplash To Neck, Back Or Shoulder Lasting Between 12 Months – 15 Months

If your symptoms of whiplash in a road traffic accident last longer than 12 months, but you have a complete recovery in 15 months your tariff award for compensation is £2,040.

Whiplash between 12 – 15 months with mild psychological injury should result in a compensation calculation of £2,125.

RTC Whiplash With Symptoms Lasting Between 15 & 18 months

Whiplash experienced in a road traffic collision with pain and suffering of at least 15 months, but with a complete recovery with 18 months, would lead to a claim payout amount of £3,005.

If your whiplash is also associated with mild psychological injury – your settlement for general damages would be calculated at £3,100.

Compensation For Whiplash With Symptoms From 18 Months to 24 Months

When you suffer a neck, shoulder of back soft tissue injury in a motor vehicle accident and your symptoms last over 18 months, but no longer than 24 months you can expect a tariff compensation payout for pain and suffering of £4,215.

If you also suffer mild psychological injury with your road accident whiplash – your claim payout will be calculated at £4,345.

Remember – if your neck, back or shoulder injury is as a result of another injury type, such as a dislocated shoulder or broken arm, it can be argued by your solicitor that the sums you should be awarded would be based on the more generous pre 31 May 2021 figures.

How much will your whiplash claim be worth for symptoms over 24 months?

The whiplash tariff only extends to symptoms of up to 24 months. Once symptoms are beyond this your neck, back and shoulder injury is considered more serious and as such the government has not limited with a tariff the amount you can claim.

Instead – the amount you can claim is calculated in the usual way by your solicitor with reference to caselaw and judicial guidance. You can see example figures in our compensation amounts article

Remember – when your injuries are more severe – back, neck and shoulder injuries may not be considered one and the same, but rather multiple injuries and as such the combined effect of such injuries will increase your compensation. This is best explained in our multiple injury claim calculation article.

How do prove the amount of time you have suffered your symptoms of whiplash?

To prove your whiplash injury and its duration – you will require a report from an independent medical expert. The medical expert will give an opinion of either how long you have actually suffered whiplash symptoms as a result of your road accident or a prognosis of how long you are likely to continue to suffer symptoms (if the medical report is produced before you have recovered from your symptoms).

The medical experts would typically be accredited and independently selected via a body known as MedCo.

Whiplash Claim Payout Summary And Next Steps

In this article you have learnt how the government has limited the amount of compensation you can recover for neck, back and shoulder injury suffered on or after 31 May 2021 in a road accident via a whiplash tariff for accidents  together with a compensation amount guide and exceptions to when the whiplash claim payout tariff will apply,

See how the small claims limit for road accidents was also changed on 31 May 2021 – limiting your ability to claim your solicitor costs in assisting you with a claim.

Free Online Specialist Solicitor Help

You may be uncertain as to whether your claim will be classed as a small claim or whether you can seek the help from a solicitor.

We recommend you take advantage of our free specialist solicitor online and telephone help – where you can ask a question or speak direct to a solicitor about your accident circumstances.