Road Accident Claims – the New System
There is to be a radical overhaul of the procedure for handling low value personal injury claims arising out of a road traffic accident where the value of the claim for the injuries is between £1000 and £10,000. The new scheme comes into force on the 30th April 2010 in respect of any road traffic accident occurring on or after that date.
The procedure requires a detailed claim notification form to be submitted to the insurer; if the insurer denies liability the claim exits the new procedure and is dealt with under the former procedure. Communication methods are electronic.
If liability is admitted the case moves on to three stages:-
STAGE 1: Insurer admits liability in 15 days and pays Stage 1 fixed costs in 10 days. If insurer does not respond, denies liability, alleges contributory negligence, etc the claim exits the accelerated procedure.
STAGE 2: Claimant obtains a medical report, values claim and submits a settlement pack with details of expenses/receipts. Insurer responds in 15 days, accepts offer or counter-offers. A negotiation period of 20 days ensues. If the claim settles the insurer also pays Stage 2 fixed costs.
STAGE 3: If the claim is not settled, the Claimant completes a “Court Proceedings Pack” and sends it to the insurer who has 5 days to check it for accuracy. The Claimant then issues proceedings. The District Judge assesses value of the claim without the need for a hearing.
The advantages are likely to be:-
Speedier resolution of claims
Lower legal costs
More rapid payment
Only time will tell whether the procedure will work and whether it will be extended to other areas of legal procedure.