The Personal Injury Claims Portal
Since 2013 nearly all personal injury claims valued at £25,000 or less have been dealt with via an online claims portal. The aims of the portal system are to deal with claims quickly, simply and efficiently in three distinct stages and by and large the system works very well for claimants.
There is no choice about the use of the portal – the government has made it compulsory for all claimants.
Claims worth £25,000 or more are not dealt with via the portal. They are dealt with under a different set of rules which are set out in a pre-action protocol and even with cases that begin in the portal, if the Defendant denies responsibility for the accident the claim is removed from the portal and then proceeds under the pre-action protocol.
Stage 1 – Investigation
Once you have given us instructions about your case and you have asked us to go ahead, we will complete a Claim Notification Form on your behalf and send it to the Defendant (the other party in the case).
The Claim Notification Form is a long form a bit like a motor insurance claim form. It contains descriptions of the accident circumstances and your injuries, and all the other relevant information about your claim.
The Claim Notification Form is a very important document in the claim, so before we submit it we will ask you to sign it to confirm that the contents are true and accurate.
The Defendant has to acknowledge receipt of the Claim Notification Form within 1 working day.
The Defendant then has to either admit or deny responsibility for the accident fairly quickly:-
- Within 15 business days in a motor accident claim
- Within 30 business days to respond to employers’ liability claims (accidents at work)
- Within 40 business days to respond to public liability claims (claims against supermarkets, shops, local authorities and so on)
If the Defendant admits liability the claim will proceed to Stage 2.
If the Defendant denies liability or fails to respond within the time limit, the claim will fall out of the portal and will be dealt with via the Personal Injury Protocol.
Stage 2 – Settlement Pack
During Stage 2 we will gather all the evidence we need to support your claim
This is likely to include things like: medical records, an expert medical report dealing with your injuries, pay slips that help to prove any loss of earnings, receipts for any damaged property and any statements from you and any other witnesses.
Once all this evidence is finalised, we will discuss the likely valuation of your case with you.
We will then submit the evidence to the Defendant in a Stage 2 Settlement pack along with a settlement offer on your behalf.
Although insurers always drive a hard bargain, both sides have to negotiate sensibly because there can be significant financial penalties on any party that fails to accept a sensible offer.
Our experience is that the vast majority cases can be settled during the Stage 2 negotiations.
If a settlement is agreed the Defendant has to pay the agreed damages within fourteen days.
Stage 3 – Court Proceedings
It is uncommon for claims to proceed to court proceedings under Stage 3
But if we can’t reach a settlement during negotiations with the Defendant Stage 3 involves sending all the evidence to court so that the Judge can decide the correct amount of compensation.
Although the rules do allow the Judge to call the parties into court to give evidence, most Stage 3 cases are dealt with “on paper” where the judge reviews the evidence without the parties actually going to court.
Once the Judge decides the amount of compensation the Defendant has to pay the damages within fourteen days.
Legal Fees In Portal Claims
The costs paid to the lawyers in portal cases are very modest. So it is likely that your lawyer will offer to act on “no win no fee” terms, whereby you pay nothing at all if you lose the case, but pay around 25% of your compensation towards legal fees if your case is successful.