Month: March 2021

Major Changes to Road Traffic Accident Claims – May 2021

There are planned changes to small injury claims, which would affect those who are in road traffic accidents, and suffer any type of low value claim for which they could currently seek support from a solicitor. Here we look at the proposed change and how this will affect those wishing to make a claim going forwards.

How does a claim for someone involved in a car accident with minor injuries work currently?

At present, you can instruct a solicitor to represent you for any small claim worth at least £1,000. On the existing tariff, this would qualify the majority of injuries which aren’t classed as minor. Successful claimants can recover a portion of their legal costs from the third party insurers (the insurance company of the defendant who you are claiming against).

This allows claimants to instruct solicitors on a “No win no Fee” basis, removing the need for any up-front payment; some of the fees are recovered from the third party insurers at the conclusion of the case, if successful.

However, the changes which are about to come into force will change this process and bring in new claim guidelines and tariffs.

What is a “tariff”?
There is an official list of common injuries compiled for personal injury cases, which gives an estimated compensation amount associated with that injury type. Though this is only a guideline, it can be a useful indicator as to how much you may be awarded.

What are the proposed changes?

If you suffer minor injuries in an RTA (road traffic accident) where the claim amount is projected to be worth less than £5,000, your legal representative will not be able to obtain any costs from the third party insurers for taking on your case.

For all other personal injury claims such as workplace accidents, tripping accidents, and other injuries sustained in public places, the intention is also to increase the small claims limit, though to just £2,000. This is open to change and has yet to be finalized.

With the introduction of the higher limit on RTA small claims, a claimant will only be able to submit their case using the new OIC portal. With no option to submit a request for legal representation fees as part of their claim, a claimant will either need to represent themselves or choose to fund legal support personally.

What is the OIC portal?
The Official Injury Claim Portal, or OIC Portal, is an online system where an individual can file a claim for whiplash injuries. Although it can assist with completing the claim information, you may still require assistance outside the portal for additional services such as medical reports or understanding tarrifs for more complex injuries.

In addition to being unable to recover legal costs for a solicitor for claims worth less than £5,000, the valuation of injuries tariff will also be adjusted. At present, a neck injury with a prognosis of 3 months is currently valued around £2,300, yet under the new tariff will be valued at £240.

There are some exceptions to the new changes, however. Vulnerable road users will be exempt from the small claims increase, which means that cyclists, pedestrians, motorcyclists and cases involving children won’t be included in the changes and the small claims limit will therefore remain at £1,000.

Originally, the changes for the RTA small claims limit was scheduled for April 2020, but due to the Coronavirus pandemic, they were postponed and will now come into force on 31st May 2021.

These changes have allegedly been proposed in an attempt to reduce and deterr false claims, mainly those involving whiplash in road traffic accidents, although the new portal will be for all types of low value injuries. It’s estimated that these changes may see a reduction on car insurance premiums, although previous cuts in costs to solicitors did not result in savings being passed onto motorists.

How will this affect anyone who is involved in a Road Traffic Accident?

Anyone who sustains minor injuries need to submit their claim via the new OIC portal. Once the case has been submitted, the claimant will then need to:

  • Ensure they have presented their claim information clearly and correctly
  • Upon an admission of liability, instruct a medical expert to prepare a report on their injuries
  • Interpret the medical evidence appropriately

RTA cases are rarely straighforwards. It is not yet clear what the process will be if there is a denial of liability or if a medical expert recommends the claimant undergo additional medical investigations, for example an MRI scan.

There are also risks involved for claimants representing themselves in terms of settling their case, even if liability is accepted. A lack of experience and understanding in relation to how the process works could result in accepting a much lower offer than could otherwise have been achieved.

If anyone involved in a road traffic accident suffers minor injuries and requires treatment such as physiotherapy, they may be forced to pay for any treatment up front themselves in the hope of claiming the fees back via their claim, or alternatively, accept an offer of rehabilitation from the third party insurers directly.

When running an injury claim, there are several parties involved; this includes two insurance companies and the possibility of several claimants and witnesses, so things can quickly become complex and stressful. In addition, a claimant may have to independently obtain witness evidence, police reports, physiotherapy reports, medical records, engineering evidence and more in order to progress their case. These are just some of the tasks which would previously have been dealt with by the instructed solicitor.

The OIC claims portal launch has been postponed several times so far, amid concerns of its ease of use and whether it is fit for purpose. Whether the rights of the public to access legal representation in these cases have been protected has also been called into question.

It is feared that rather than have the claimant’s best interests in mind when implementing these legislations, it seems the main aim of the reforms is to save insurance companies money at the expense and detriment of people who are genuinely injured.

Despite the changes making it much more difficult to claim for minor injuries, you may still be able to seek advice from a solicitor to support you through your case.

Can I still make a claim in the meantime?

It is still possible to start a claim and the procedure will, at the time of writing, not be affected until 31st May 2021. We understand that any road traffic accident after the 31st May will be subject to the new changes and therefore if you have been involved in an accident before this date, the small claims limit of £1,000 is applicable and the new rules and tariffs will not apply.

If you have been involved in a road traffic accident and wish to discuss a claim, our friendly team are here to assist and offer advice on the best way forward.

Busting common myths about making a personal injury claim

making a personal injury claim

Life after an accident can be a stressful time. You may be asking yourself: “how will I pay for the damages?”, “what happens with my car?”, “do I need to see a doctor?”. You also may be thinking of making a claim. Finding and contacting a solicitor can be daunting enough without the endless myths and misconceptions you’ll find online upon doing some research.

At IMS Law are here to debunk these myths, demystify the law and any answer all of your questions in YOUR language, so that making a claim isn’t any harder than it needs to be.

Myth #1: Making a claim is too expensive!

Here at IMS Law, we offer a no win no fee guarantee as well as a FREE initial consultation with one of our friendly advisors. Acting on a No Win, No Fee basis means that there are no legal fees for you to pay if your case isn’t successful.

If your case is successful, the contribution you make is capped at 25% from the award you receive for the personal injury claim. We always ensure that this is explained to our clients at the beginning of every case and we only charge our fee at the completion of the claim.

Myth #2: The claims process will be too complex

At first, the thought of starting a claim might seem daunting and confusing. There are so many options and you just want to be sure you’re doing what’s best.

Our friendly team here at IMS Law will always be available from the first point of call, right the way through your claim should you have any questions about the process, or even just for a chat! If you are unsure of anything, be sure to call us on 01744 612549 and we will be happy to help.

If you are unsure of anything, be sure to call us on 01744 612549 and we will be happy to help.

Myth #3: Solicitors aren’t needed because of insurance companies

Dealing with your insurance company following an accident may seem easier than contacting a solicitor, but they don’t always have your best interests in mind. Unlike solicitors, insurance companies don’t always consider the extent of any injuries you have sustained, or any other special damages you have incurred. If you instruct your own insurers to deal with the claim there can be a policy excess to pay. In the majority of cases if you instruct your own insurer to deal with your claim, they may not deal with your personal injury claim directly but will instruct a firm of solicitors to deal with the matter on your behalf. It is always in your best interests to instruct your own law firm independent of any insurance company.

Following a non fault accident you may also be contacted by the fault party drivers insurance company and they may to try and settle the claim with you directly. This is called third party capture or third party assistance. Insurers are legally allowed to do this. However, it’s important to know that you don’t have to settle the claim in this way, and that the other person’s insurer won’t be acting in your best interests. If you do accept an offer direct with the third party insurers it might be lower than the compensation you would have got if you’d instructed your own solicitor.

Our expert solicitors here at IMS Law will fight for your best interests and make sure you receive the compensation you deserve.

Myth #4: People who claim who are just after free money

Living in the UK, you may have heard the term ‘claims culture’. This comes with the assumption that people who make a claim are just looking for a quick and easy way to make money, which can be damaging for those with genuine injuries and may make them feel guilty about making a claim.

The purpose of compensation is to help get you back on track and it can be extremely helpful for those suffering from not only financial, but physical and emotional difficulty following an accident. For example, it covers any medical bills, damages to your property, loss of earnings if you were left unable to go to work, etc.

At IMS Law we know how much an accident can be debilitating and distressing experience that has huge implications in many aspects of your life and we will always make sure that your claim is dealt with in an empathic and understanding manner.

Myth #5: We’ll share your details with other companies

Some claims companies use unethical marketing strategies, which unfortunately gives our industry a bad name. Unless we have your permission to do so, we will not under any circumstance share your details with any other companies or organisations

Myth #6: I’ll need to go to court

Most personal injury cases are settled outside of court and will only go to court if a settlement could not be agreed in the early stages of your claim, the other party is unresponsive or insurers respond and need the courts to intervene. If your case is taken to court you may need to attend and we will ensure that the possibility is discussed and agreed with you before we issue court proceedings on your case.

We hope this post has been helpful. If you have any further queries please do not hesitate to contact us on 01744 612549 or at and one of our advisors will be ready and happy to assist you.

Where to find us

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St Helens,
WA10 1SX
Call: 01744 612549

Mon to Fri – 9:00 to 17:00

Corporation Street, Saint Helens WA10 1SX, UK

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