Streamlined Compensation Process

Posted: 22nd April 2010

Streamlined Compensation Process

30 April 2010 will see the launch of one of the most exciting innovations in the process of compensating victims of road traffic accidents.

Ministry of Justice reforms are intended to streamline the system for dealing with low-value road traffic accident personal injury claims. Implementation will be by no less than the 52nd amendment to the Civil Procedure Rules since 1998!

Many rules and practices have been introduced during the last decade to combat what were described as the “twin evils” of cost and delay but with limited success. As many as half a million people a year are reckoned to have claims that fall within the scope of this new regime.

Under current rules, road traffic insurers faced with a third party claim have between 60 and 90 days to accept or deny liability and thus shape the future of the claim. Under the new process, that time limit will be reduced to just 15 days!

Assuming there is no argument (in which case the claim falls back into the current system) there are two further neat stages of gathering up the evidence to value the claim and then, if necessary arguing about it and having a district judge decide.

Throughout the process there are relatively short time frames and a scheme of fixed costs instalments. The amounts represent a compromise between claimant lawyers and the insurance industry but have the advantages of certainty and timing for all involved in the process.

In addition, claimants can routinely expect a payment on account of their compensation if there is an ongoing dispute about the total value.

These radical changes can of course only be achieved by good use of technology and this entire scheme will be run through a web portal. It will be a little like a personal injury claims networking site for claimants and insurers. It represents yet another opportunity for those law firms with the aptitude and enthusiasm to embrace IT, improving levels of service and cost-effectiveness.

Here at Williamsons we have been pre-occupied over the last three months with development of software systems that will enhance all the work we do, including but not limited to personal injury. We have also been preparing for this specific development and use of the web portal for progress of simple road traffic claims from May onwards.

“It will represent a sea change of the way in which many players in the industry run their case loads but for us it feels like an extension of how we have tackled other areas of work for a number of years,” says Michael Williamson. “Our hope is that inefficiencies and delays in some quarters will no longer have such an impact on the process and we shall be able to invest more of our time in delivering the personal service at the front end.”

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