A new scheme is to be introduced that is intended to reduce the time it takes to settle personal injury claims for between £1,000 and £10,000 brought by victims of road traffic accidents in England and Wales.
The new process will set fixed time limits and recoverable costs for less complex claims, so that claimants receive fair compensation settlements as soon as possible.
The value of the claim for the purposes of deciding whether it should be dealt with under the new process will be based on the level of general damages, which includes damages for pain, suffering and loss of amenity (PSLA), and special damages. Damage to the vehicle and hire car costs are not included in the claim value, but can be recovered as an element of special damages within the process. The value of the claim will also take into account any deduction for contributory negligence for not wearing a seatbelt.
The following claims will be outside the scope of the scheme and the present pre-action protocol and costs regimes will continue to apply to them:
- claims which do not include at least £1,000 for PSLA – the personal injury small claims limit;
- claims involving employers’ liability and/or public liability;
- Motor Insurers’ Bureau Untraced Driver Agreement cases;
- claims where the claimant or defendant is deceased;
- claims where the claimant is bankrupt; and
- claims where the claimant or defendant is a protected party.
The scheme will be implemented on 6 April 2010. Claims that relate to an accident on or after this date must follow the new process. However, the new regime will not prevent a claimant choosing to settle directly with an insurer/defendant.