Changes introduced on August 1st in accordance with the Legal Aid, Sentencing & Punishment of Offenders Act (LASPO) should result in faster settlements of accident compensation claims with a value of less than £25,000.
The changes are intended to reduce the length of time it takes for insurance companies to respond to solicitor´s “Letters of Claim” and have been trialled successfully since April for road traffic accidents with a personal injury compensation value of £10,000 or less.
Now the Ministry of Justice´s claims portal has been extended to cover most types of personal injury claims with an anticipated value of £25,000 or less, and will required that insurance companies acknowledge Letters of Claim within one day of receipt (previously twenty-one days) and accept or deny their policyholder´s liability within 30 days (previously 90 days – insurance companies investigating accidents at work are allowed 40 days to accept or deny liability).
Insurance companies who fail to adhere to the new procedures will have the claim removed from the cost-saving claims portal and will have to absorb any higher costs of defending a claim themselves. The changes should speed up settlements of accident compensation claims and ensure that injured victims of negligence receive the funds they are entitled to in a much shorter timeframe.
Exclusions to the New Claims Procedures
There are a series of exclusions to the new claims procedures, and if the nature of your accident falls into one of the following categories, your claim will fall outside of the Ministry of Justice´s claims portal and settlements of accident compensation claims may take as long as before.
The exclusions include:-
- Claims in which you may have contributed to the cause of an accident or the extent of your injuries due to your own lack of care
- Claims for compensation against an individual or any negligent party who is uninsured or insolvent
- Claims against an employer where two or more negligent parties (i.e. the supplier of a machine)are liable for your injuries
- Public liability claims in which you have suffered from an avoidable disease due to negligence
- Claims for medical negligence, mesothelioma cancer or abuse
The changes to the law apply to claims for injuries which have been sustained or diagnosed in England and Wales from August 1st 2013, and should you have any questions regarding how they might affect any settlements of accident compensation claims you are waiting for, you should discuss these with a solicitor at the first practical opportunity.