The Portal Company has released the personal injury claims statistics for January 2021. The number of Claim Notification Forms ("CNFs") submitted in January 2021 increased across the board with CNFs submitted in respect of motor, employers' liability and public liability claims all increasing when compared to December 2020.

Following the imposition of a third national lockdown in early January 2021, the increase is perhaps surprising. However, an examination of figures from previous years show that an increase is usually seen between December to January, possibly attributable to the Christmas period. Furthermore, the impact of the national lockdown in terms of incidents giving rise to claims will likely not be seen immediately in the CNF figures.

Despite the increase in claims in January, claims numbers are over 35% lower than a year prior, indicating the continuing impact of the pandemic.

Monthly figures

The tables below show the comparison between January 2021 and December 2020 as well as a year on year comparison to January 2020.

The graphs below show that claim numbers in January 2021 increased slightly after the downward trend of the previous three months. However, to give context to the overall impact of the pandemic, the months marked in blue in the RTA figures below show the months immediately prior to the pandemic taking hold in the UK, and the subsequent lockdown and social restriction measures.

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What can we expect to see?

  • The full lockdown has remained in effect during February 2021, and therefore, any dramatic increase in claims would be unexpected. The proposed lifting of the lockdown measures will have a greater impact.
  • The announcement of the Government’s roadmap out of lockdown will commence on 8 March with the reopening of schools, followed initially by other steps including the removal of the ‘Stay At Home’ requirement in late March. The re-opening of non-essential retail and outdoor attractions and settings is planned for mid-April. These actions will no doubt stimulate increased car journeys, the return to workplace settings and increased leisure activity. This will in turn give rise to more incidents causing injury and claims.
  • In addition, the whiplash reforms are due to take effect in May of this year. There is an expectation of an increase in claims numbers issued in order to ‘beat’ the deadline for the reforms. This would allow claimants to seek the existing damages for whiplash damages, avoiding the incoming tariff system. In addition, those claims would also be costs bearing if they exceed the current small claims track limit for RTA-related PI claims of £1,000, which is to be increased to £5,000 as part of the package of reforms.