Personal injury claims and the new rules

Posted by Julie Donovan on

Who are BL Claims Solicitors

BL Claims Solicitors specialise in personal injury, clinical negligence and travel claims, providing our clients with hands-on support, nationally.

We are rated as one of the top firms in the UK and believe in speaking to our clients in jargon-free language and ensuring you're speaking to a highly qualified lawyer right from the outset

Few are aware of the new costs rules for personal injury claims introduced on 1 April 2013. Our Personal Injury team provides an useful overview of those changes and how they will affect you.

Prior to 1 April 2013, if you were involved in a road traffic accident and wanted to pursue a claim for compensation you would simply contact either your own insurer or a solicitor who would accept your claim under a "no win no fee agreement".  Provided  the  claim was successful, your legal fees would be recovered from the Defendant's insurer. Your solicitor would be entitled to claim a fixed percentage uplift on those fees in recognition of the risks posed by the case. For RTAs this is only 12.5%.

To protect  you against  the risk of losing the claim and being ordered to pay your opponent's legal costs, unless you had the benefit of legal expenses insurance, an After The Event insurance policy would be arranged by the solicitor and the premium would be deferred until the end of the claim.  Again, in a successful case the premium formed part of your costs and was recoverable from the insurer of the party at fault.  If your claim was not successful the premium would be waived.

With the introduction of a new portal process on 1 May 2010 all compensation claims resulting from road traffic accidents worth no more than £10,000 , which is the vast majority,  have been processed through this portal, the solicitor received a fixed fee of £1,200 regardless of the amount of time spent on the case, together with a success fee of 12.5% , each of which are payable by the insurers of the driver at fault.  The insurers were also liable to pay any after the event  insurance premium as well as the disbursements,  such as the cost of a medical report fee.  The idea was that less serious claims could be dealt with quickly.

Since 1 April 2013 this has changed.  Neither the percentage uplift on your solicitor's costs nor an insurance premiums are recoverable from the insurers. You, the Claimant, are not responsible for these from your damages.  Claimants will however receive a 10% increase in the level of his or her injury damages.  Although you will now have to contribute towards the cost of pursuing a claim the amount that can be deducted from your damages is capped at 25% of injury damages and past losses.  What this means is that the Claimant will always receive at least 75% of damages.

The After the Event insurance policy protects you, the Claimant, against the risk of failing to beat at court an offer made by your opponent.  Whether to take out such insurance will be discussed at the outset of the claim with your lawyer.  In the majority of less serious claims it may not be necessary to incur this cost.

From 31 July 2013 all road traffic accidents, accidents at work and public liability accidents (highway trippers) with a value of  no more than £25,000 will also be processed through the portal.

The Process:

  • Claim submitted online -  the Defendant has 15 working days in which to respond with an admission of liability
  • If liability is disputed or the Defendant fails to respond within this time, the claim will no longer remain within the portal process but fixed fees will still apply
  • If liability is admitted then medical evidence is obtained with or without medical records
  • Medical evidence received
  • Disclose medical evidence with a settlement statement including all losses and an offer to the Defendant within 15 working days
  • The Defendant has 15 working days to respond with an acceptance of your offer or a counter offer
  • If settlement cannot be agreed, an application/settlement pack is completed by both parties and sent to the Court with the medical evidence together with details of the expenses and costs incurred
  • The Court will deal with the matter and no parties will attend and once the Court has decided the level of compensation this will be sent to the Defendant who will have 10 working days to pay out the compensation to the injured party.

The above gives an idea of the time scale of how the claim will be dealt with in a straightforward low value claim.

The scheme provides for a much more streamlined approach to personal injury claims and by extending the scheme to employer's liability and public liability claims, the idea is that all claims of this value shall be resolved much more quickly and at a smaller cost.  Whether it actually works, we shall wait and see.

BL Claims Solicitors are here to help

If you would like to talk to someone and discuss a potential claim please call us on 0344 620 6600 anytime between 8am and 6pm Monday to Friday, or if you would prefer you can email us at info@blclaims.co.uk

About the Author

Julie is a Senior Legal Executive in our Personal Injury team with over 18 years of experience in compensation claims.

Julie Donovan
Email Julie
023 8085 7322

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