There are some interesting nuggets of data within the latest update from the Ministry of Justice, as the Claims Portal continues to sift various PI claims.
The first thing that strikes you reading the report is that whiplash is still a popular reason for making a claim. Even though compensation is capped at 5K, this is still a good enough incentive for many involved in motor accidents to try their luck. Also, most claimants do have legal representation, which suggests that the Portal is difficult to navigate for most people, plus having a “no win no fee” solicitor is seen as a low maintenance route to the cash for many. Basically you outsource much of the admin, even if you lose part of the holiday money.
When it comes to an exit from a claim, about 10% state it’s due to suspected fraud. The biggest reason for walking away from a PI claim is “complex issues of law,” which covers lots of technical issues of course. Plus, exit reasons are self selected by claimants, so they might not represent the true reasons for leaving the process.
One other detail; Portal Helpline enquiries hit an all time peak in September 2022 at 1,902 phone calls. That indicates a level of confusion surrounding the actual process and a need for clarity regardless of whether people are using solicitors or not. Maybe automated ADR assessments of evidence are ultimately a better way to settle a great many routine whiplash claims? Upload the incident evidence from both sides, upload medical report and then boom, settlement offer via email.
That could potentially settle 50% of everyday sub 5K cases, without anyone using solicitors, but politicians are unlikely to sanction any system which reduces the amount of work available for lawyers…as most politicians are lawyers, or married to one.
COMMENT & ANALYSIS
OK, here’s some Comment from Matthew Maxwell Scott, executive director of ACSO;