Personal injury claims portal
The Claims Portal was originally set up to cover personal injury claims arising from Road Traffic Accidents but was extended on 1st August 2013 to cover Employers' Liability and Public Liability claims.
Any claims between £1,000 and a maximum £25,000 in respect of causes of action arising after 31st July 2013 need to be submitted by the personal injury solicitor through this Portal.
Disease-related claims are excluded.
The portal website can be viewed here.
What is the purpose of the Portal?
In order to reduce the costs involved in personal injury claims, the Portal is designed to manage claims efficiently and quickly. A system of notifications and responses are entered by the claimant, the defendant or its insurers. Tight deadlines are imposed to speed the process.
By transferring information between parties in a more secure and efficient way and including some basic validation checks, the Portal helps to avoid inconsistent, incomplete or incorrect information being exchanged.
The Portal can assist in the settlement of straightforward personal injury claims quickly and within a framework of low fixed costs. Claims with a value of up to £10,000 will have fixed costs of £900 and claims of £10,001-£25,000 attract fixed costs of £1600.
How does a claimant use the Portal?
A claimant seeking compensation for a personal injury claim registers the claim on the Portal by completing and registering a Claim Notification Form (CNF), which is like a letter of claim. It must include sufficient information for the defendant to investigate the claim.
The CNF is sent to either the defendant or his insurer and the claimant receives an email acknowledgement of the claim.
How does a defendant use the Portal?
In order to be able to accept and acknowledge the CNF, organisations or insurers must be registered on the Portal.
In employer's liability claims the defendant has 30 working days to respond to a CNF or 40 days in Public Liability claims.
If the defendant admits liability, the claim stays within the Portal. Where liability is denied or an allegation of contributory negligence is made, the claim must be dealt with through the courts as normal. In such cases, the CNF is treated as the letter of claim and the time limits begin from the initial acknowledgement of the claim by the defendant or insurer.
What happens next?
The process requires the claimant to provide evidence in support of the claim for damages, including any medical evidence and evidence in support of special damages. This is referred to as the Stage 2 Settlement Pack and should include:
- medical reports - including any medical records/photographs
- evidence of financial losses;
- evidence of costs incurred (for example the cost of any medical report);
- any non-medical expert report;
- any witness statement
- any offers of settlement
Once the defendant receives this pack, a payment of Stage 1 fixed costs must be made to the claimant.
The defendant then has 15 days to make an offer of settlement or agree the offer made by the claimant. Subsequent negotiations between the parties may take up to 20 days.
If settlement is agreed the defendant must pay the agreed damages along with Stage 1(if not already paid) and Stage 2 fixed costs and agreed disbursements within 10 days of the agreement
The process may be extended by the claimant seeking additional medical reports, and interim payments can be requested via an Interim Settlement Pack (ISP) to the defendant.
How long does the road accident claims portal take?
There are three key stages when processing a claim through the Portal:
- Investigating the claim - Your solicitor fills out a Claim Notification Form (CNF) and sends this to the defendant (the road user responsible for the accident). The defendant (or usually their insurers) must acknowledge receipt within 1 working day. The defendant then has 40 days to respond, and either admit or deny liability.
If the defendant admits they were fully responsible for the collision, the claim proceeds to stage 2.
- Negotiating a settlement - Independent medical evidence is used to help calculate an appropriate amount of compensation. Your solicitor sends this figure to the other side, and they then have 35 more days to negotiate this amount with you and agree a final settlement.
- Litigation - If the two sides cannot agree on a settlement figure, the defendant pays their final offer to you. You can then start court proceedings to recover the higher amount.
If the defendant or their insurer denies liability or only accepts that they were partly responsible, the claim leaves the Portal time frame. Negotiations to reach a settlement may continue, or the claim may ultimately go to court.
What happens if deadlines are missed by the defendant?
When the defendant fails to comply with time limits, the claim may fall out of the Portal. As a result, he may face increased costs.
Howard Willis, Personal injury solicitor
About the author
Howard qualified as a solicitor in 1984 and has specialised in personal injury for over 25 years. He is a member of the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL) and is a recognised Law Society Personal Injury Panel expert.