Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) in minor personal injury claims will eventually become the standard means of finalising cases where settlement cannot be reached directly with the insurer, according to Minster Law CEO Shirley Woolham.
Shirley’s comments came after the Yorkshire law firm released its preliminary findings from an ADR pilot study. The pilot ran during March and April and was conducted with a UK Tier One insurer in partnership with Nuvalaw, a technology company that has developed a claims resolution platform offering negotiation tools and quality-assured ODR. Arbitrations are provided by Trust Mediation.
39 claims were settled during the ADR pilot, and all were for minor injuries following a Road Traffic Accident (RTA), including rehabilitation. Claims were settled within an average of 2.5 working days, with the quickest settlement time being just 24 hours.
Of the claims in the pilot, all but one settled above the final offer of the insurer. The highest award was for £5,167, the lowest for £2,100. The latest MoJ statistics found that the average time taken for small claims and multi- or fast-track claims to go to trial was 51 weeks and 73 weeks, which is 14 and 13 weeks longer than the same period in 2019 respectively.
Shirley said: “The point of settlement is to allow injured people to get their lives back to normal as quickly as possible. That simply can’t happen if they have to wait over a year for their case to come to Court.”
“Our pilot shows that ADR delivers justice quickly, so it makes sense for customers but also for insurers and for law firms, and it means our courts can focus on more challenging issues.”