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Personal Injury Claims Reforms – April 2013 (delayed until July 2013)

Back in January 2012, the Government announced that the current Road Traffic Accident (RTA) portal scheme for low value claims up to £10,000 would be extended to Employers’ Liability (EL), Public Liability (PL) and motor claims with a value up to £25,000.

This briefing highlights the key provisions of the amended RTA Protocol and the new EL/PL Protocol. Further details will follow once the protocol is finalised.

RTA Protocol changes

The value of claims which will be dealt with under the scheme will increase from £10,000 to £25,000 with effect from the end of July 2013.

The level of fixed costs payable under the scheme is currently being consulted on, however are proposed to be reduced to: –

£500 for claims between £1,000 and £10,000 that settle without a hearing
£800 for claims between £10,000 and £25,000 that settle without a hearing
The timescales for admitting liability will remain at 15 working days

EL/PL Protocol

This will apply to an EL or PL accident or an EL disease claim where there is only a single defendant and where the value of the claim is up to £25,000. This comes into effect from the end of July 2013.

The Claimant will have to try to identify the Insurer and a Claims Notification Form (CNF) will be sent to that Insurer. If the Insurer cannot be identified then the CNF will be sent to the Defendant.

The Insurer or Defendant must send an electronic acknowledgement of the CNF the day after receipt.

There is then a period of only 30 working days for EL and 40 working days for PL, from the date of service of the CNF, for liability to be investigated.

For an admission of liability to be valid under the scheme it has to be a full admission i.e., without allegations of contributory negligence. If a full admission is not made then the claim falls outside the scheme

In EL claims details of the Claimant’s earnings must be provided 20 days after the admission of liability.

Damages will be increased by 10% to reflect the fact that success fees will no longer be recoverable

The level of fixed costs payable under the scheme is currently being consulted on, however are proposed to be reduced to: –

  • £900 for claims between £1,000 and £10,000 that settle without a hearing.
  • £1,600 for claims between £10,000 and £25,000 that settle without a hearing.

It is obviously going to be economically beneficial for claims to be handled within the scheme wherever possible, however if the claim does fall out of the scheme a separate matrix of costs is being consulted upon which includes a contingency element based upon a percentage of the Claimant’s Damages.

An unsuccessful Claimant will no longer have to pay the successful Defendant’s costs (known as Qualified One-way Costs Shifting or QOCS) unless the claim is proved to be fraudulent.

For further information and details please refer to your usual contact at TL Dallas or call us on 01274 465500.