Does my claim fall within this scheme?
All road accidents which have happened since April 2010 and which are likely to have a value in relation to the injuries alone of more than £1,000, but not more than £10,000 must be dealt with under the new online scheme.
What information do I need in order to bring an injury claim?
If you have been involved in a road accident you will need to provide us with the name of the driver and details of their insurers along with the make and registration number of all vehicles involved in the accident. As with all personal injury claims, the more information you can provide us with at the outset the better.
If you do not have all of the details then we can carry out online enquiries though this may cause a delay in the initial stages of progressing your accident claim.
How is my accident claim submitted?
Once all the information relating to the road accident has been obtained a personal injury claim notification form is submitted online to the Defendant. The details from the form are entered onto the personal injury claim portal, which is the secure online electronic exchange. A revised version of this form is sent to the Defendant driver, but omits the Claimant’s contact details.
When will the Defendant respond?
The Defendant’s insurers have 15 working days, starting the day after the claim notification form was submitted, in which to respond and either admit liability for the accident, deny liability or raise issues of contributory negligence.
What happens if the Defendant denies liability or ignores the claim?
If either of these two events take place then your injury claim will come out of the online claims process and be dealt with using the standard format applicable in all other personal injury claims.
What happens when liability is admitted?
Once the Defendant has admitted liability for the accident then we can consider whether any further rehabilitation treatment is required. If no further treatment is needed we can then instruct a medical expert to prepare a report on the injuries suffered in the road accident. The medical report will be in a prescribed form. It is for the medical expert to indicate whether or not he believes it is necessary for the medical records to be obtained and reviewed.
What happens when the medical report is available?
The medical expert may consider it appropriate to delay making a final report as further treatment may be required. Alternatively, the medical expert may believe that another report is necessary from a different specialist’s area.
If the medical expert is able to give a final opinion we will then forward a copy of the report to you for your consideration. You will then have the opportunity to correct any factual errors contained within the report. There will be no opportunity later in the claims process to amend any factual inaccuracies.
What happens when the report is agreed?
If the medical expert’s report is agreed by you we will then prepare a personal injury claim settlement pack form. This includes details of your out of pocket losses (special damage) along with receipts and the medical report. Under the online claims process we are also obliged to put forward a settlement offer to the Defendant. We will discuss the amount of compensation with you before making the offer.
The settlement pack should be submitted to the Defendant within 15 working days of the medical report being confirmed as factually accurate.
What steps with the Defendant then take?
After the settlement pack has been forwarded to the Defendant they will have a period of 15 working days in which to consider your settlement offer and either agree to pay you the compensation figure proposed or make a counter offer.
If your offer is accepted the accident claim is settled at that stage and the Defendant will pay the agreed compensation in settlement. If however a counter offer is made there will then be a period of 20 working days for further negotiation between the parties. Again, if agreement can be reached your injury claim settles at that stage.
What happens if agreement cannot be reached between the parties?
If we are unable to agree on an appropriate level of compensation for your accident claim then we will prepare the stage 3 version of the settlement pack form. This includes all of the evidence in support of your injury claim, along with details of the offers of compensation put forward by the parties. Once the contents of this pack have been agreed it will then be submitted to the Court for a Judge to make a final decision as to the level of compensation payable for your accident. The Judge will not have sight of the offers made by the two parties until a decision has been made as to the value of your claim and the amount of compensation that you are to receive.
If your injury claim is not settled by negotiation and needs to proceed to Court then the Defendant has to pay the full amount of their offer to you as an interim payment. If the Court awards a lower amount than that offered by the Defendant then the Defendant may be entitled to recover the difference from you.
There are very limited cases where you would need to attend a final hearing.
Will my accident claim always stay in the online claims process?
There is no easy answer to this. If the accident claim proceeds in the manner set out above it will remain within the online personal injury claims process until settlement. If however it becomes clear that the value of your injury claim is either less than £1,000 or more than £10,000 then your claim will exit the online process. Likewise if the Defendant fails to comply with the relevant timescales then again your accident claim will exit the online process.
If there are complex issues regarding your injuries, the medical evidence, allegations of fraud or contributory negligence then your accident claim is likely to exit the online process.
The purpose of the online process is to simplify the personal injury claims process for road traffic accidents and to speed up the time taken to reach settlement.