Sunday, May 30, 2010

Sponsored blog post: Problems with new claims portal delay introduction of “quicker claims”

The new road traffic accident claims process, intended to bring about a faster accident claims process for low value RTA claims has so-far proved anything but successful. The new process was introduced by the Ministry of Justice at the start of May and has been hampered by “teething troubles” affecting solicitors and insurers who try to log in through the online “portal”. Problems with the new process might mean delays for some of the hundreds of thousands of cases it was expected to deal with each year.
Low value accident claims, where the injury compensation is valued at between £1,000 and £10,000 form the bulk of the road traffic accident caseload for most personal injury lawyers. The new process, announced back in 2009, is an attempt to streamline the investigation and resolution of these types of claims.
From April 30th this year, all low value RTA claims will be made using a 2 or 3 stage process. This process aims to make the business of establishing liability and finalising payments to be made to the accident victim much faster. Most claims will go through at least the first two stages of the new process, although if there is a disagreement on the level of compensation to be paid out, then there is a third stage to the process, involving either a written or oral hearing to decide the quantum.
What does this mean for claimants?
If you have been unfortunate enough to be involved in a road traffic accident which has left you with minor or moderate injuries, then in theory at least, the new system should mean you receive your injury compensation cheque much more quickly than in the past. This is thanks to the strict deadlines for many of the stages in the new process (typical examples include a 15-day time limit for insurers to decide to admit or deny liability).
However, problems with the online “portal” – a website set up to allow insurers and solicitors to exchange details of claims – have been reported by various law firms since before the system went live on 30th April. These problems have seen some law firms unable to login in to upload details of their clients’ injury claims, whilst others yet to receive the passwords and codes needed to access the portal. Even those firms that have been able to log in to the online service have found that frequent crashes and interruptions of service are the norm.
With lots of hopes riding on the new software and the new process itself, it remains to be seen how quickly the problems of the past few weeks will be sorted out. After all, it is the injured accident victims who stand to lose the most from any delays to their claims.
Author: Neil Worrall

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