Civil Justice Reforms 2013

Important changes to the Civil Justice rules relating to the conduct of bodily injury claims were introduced on 1st April with more to be implemented on 31st July 2013. This concerns the way that civil cases are funded and the costs involved in bringing those cases.

These changes will have a significant impact on the timescales for investigating and commenting on liability claims. Significant cost savings are also anticipated due to a number of amendments to how claims are funded.

What do you need to know:

  • Success fees and After the Event Insurance premiums will no longer be recoverable by the losing party where new funding arrangements are entered into on or after 1 April 2013.

  • There will be qualified one-way costs shifting (QOCS) for personal injury claims. This means that, save for certain situations, costs will not be payable by an unsuccessful claimant to a defendant. This comes into force on 1 April 2013 for claims funded by the new arrangements.

  • Under the new rules there will be an increase of 10% in general damages (pain, suffering and loss of amenity) to balance the non-recoverability of success fees from the paying party.

  • All employers', public and product liability bodily injury claims (valued between £1,000 and £25,000) will be dealt with via an electronic portal. The exception will be any disease claims where there is more than one defendant.

  • Letters of claim and postal claims will be replaced by claim notification forms (CNF).

  • The majority of employers' liability CNFs will be sent directly to the insurer as the solicitor is likely to know the insurers at the time of the claim. However, public and product liability notifications are likely to be sent directly to policyholders due to solicitors not knowing the policy holders insurer.

Timescales

Once a claim is notified, there will be strict, non-negotiable deadlines to be adhered to:

  • CNFs must be acknowledged electronically within 24 hours by the insurer.

  • From receipt of the CNF, liability decisions must be made within 30 business days for employers' liability and 40 business days for public and products liability.

  • For employers' liability claims, once an admission of liability has been made, there will be a period of 20 business days in which to confirm loss of earnings.

  • In the event of the policyholder receiving notice of a potential claim, their broker or insurer needs to be notified immediately to ensure no delays are incurred.

  • Once a full admission of liability has been made, there will be a period of 35 business days in which to negotiate settlement.

  • It should be noted that any arguments of contributory negligence will automatically exit the claim from the portal.

  • In the event that any of the above deadlines are missed, the claim will automatically exit the portal and attract higher costs.

Due to the much shorter timescales to acknowledge and investigate claims, speed will be of the essence. Procedures and practices will need to be highly efficient.
Read our article for tips on what to do in the event of an accident.

This information was sourced from ACE European Group. Please see the Ministry of Justice website for further details.

For more information about Towergate Insurance please call us on 0344 892 1651 or alternatively, you can email us at careinsurance@towergate.co.uk

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