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14 February 2013

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Paul

Surprising how difficult insurers can make it, isn't it? Anyone would think they wanted to put people off claiming...

What you tried to do would once have been the way to do it, but not any more, and its down to the insurers and their friends at MoJ.

You do not mention that you are supposed to put your claim to the insurers electronically, by completing the form available from the MoJ website, and emailing it to the insurers. I mean no disrespect, but can I presume that since you did not mention this, you were unaware of the expected procedure? If so, then does this not highlight your point even more?

You say that "costs associated with whiplash have escalated". Really?

"Predictable costs" under CPR 45 (II), which can vary, haven't gone up since 2003. Who else has their recoverable costs fixed at 2003 levels?

Since the introduction of the Pre-Action Protocol on Low Value RTA claims, they have been fixed for all RTA cases where the value of general damages and specials (excluding vehicle repair, storage and hire charges) are less than £10,000. They haven't gone up since 2010, and are now being cut. A case which settles pre-action nets costs of just £1350, including success fee. A case which goes to a hearing on quantum nets a maximum of £2350 including success fee. That's it. No more.

The only way the cost of "whiplash" claims can possibly increase is if the Defendants do not comply with the rules (their fault); dispute the case on liability (open to a party to fight a case but must bear costs consequences if they get it wrong); argue fraud (ditto); or if the value of generals and specials is above £10,000, in which case its probably not a "run of the mill" whiplash claim.

Amanda Yip QC

In theory an unrepresented claimant might be able to use the Protocol but the whole system is geared up towards the Portal which is only for those with representation. Even if you wanted to get into that system, I'm not sure where the forms are given the link from the MOJ site has apparently been deleted! Certainly, the insurers don't provide a handly link on their website! I still think the cost of whiplash claims overall is too high but the real escalation came pre-2003 in response to political changes supposedly designed to reduce the cost of claims to society!

Paul

My point exactly - on the one hand insurers and HM Govt propose that claimants really do not need legal representation for these matters, while simultaneously making it impractical and difficult to actually "do it yourself" in the way described.

As to costs, I would disagree with you. What escalation? And what precisely escalated?

The amount of recoverable base profit costs is not affected by the way in which those costs are funded - the hourly rate recoverable is that permitted by the Court, and presumably the Court has not increased the hourly rates to reduce the costs of claims to society!

If the base costs for "whiplash" have escalated, then they have escalated just as much for clinical negligence, construction, defamation etc, etc.

The only thing that CFA funding adds is the success fee, but the success fee in ALL RTA cases settled before trial is just 12.5%, and has been since 2003.

Presumably the success fees payable in, say, clinical negligence are much higher than that, so does this mean we should also see the same sort of cuts in costs recoverable by clinical negligence lawyers? After all, surely it would mean significant savings to the NHS and the taxpayer, and surely most clin neg cases can be addressed by the Claimant filling in a simple form and submitting it to the PCT or Hospital Trust?

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