On 1st August 2013, changes to the Ministry of Justice´s claims portal program were introduced which should allow for quicker settlements of personal injury claims.
The changes relate to claims for personal injury compensation due to a road traffic accident, an injury at work or injuries sustained in a place of public access (public liability claims) which occur in England and Wales on or after 1st August 2013, and which have an anticipated value of less than £25,000.
Until these procedural changes were made, insurance companies could often delay settlements of personal injury claims by leaving the acknowledgement of a solicitor´s “Letter of Claim” – and failing to admit their policyholder´s liability – until the last possible moment.
Now, strict time limits have been introduced so that insurance companies have to acknowledge a Letter of Claim within 24 hours and advise the solicitor whether liability for a personal injury will be accepted or declined within 30 days (40 days for injuries at work).
This system replaces the old 90 day limit and insurance companies who fail to adhere to the new regulations will have the claim taken out of the cost-saving claims portal program with the insurance company liable for any additional expenses they incur whether they are successful in defending the claim or not.
The new procedures should enable claimants to receive settlements of personal injury claim much quicker; however there are several exceptions to the recently introduced regulations which include:-
- Public liability claims against a private individual
- Claims for food poisoning after eating in a restaurant
- Claims due to a lack of care by more than one party
- Any claim for an accident outside of England or Wales
- Claims in which the defendant is uninsured or untraceable
- Claims for medical malpractice or clinical negligence
- Claims for compensation for contracting mesothelioma
The Ministry of Justice reforms do not affect the Statute of Limitations – which determines long you have to make a claim for personal injury compensation after discovering that an injury has been sustained – and only apply to accidents which have occurred or injuries which have been diagnosed on or after 1st August 2013.
If you have any questions regarding how the quicker settlements of personal injury claims may affect you or your entitlement to personal injury compensation, you are advised to speak with a claims solicitor at the first possible moment.