Personal Injury, Serious Injury & Clinical Negligence

Civil Litigation Reform

Pre-Action Protocol for Low Value Personal Injury (Employers Liability and Public Liability) Claims

Over the last year there have been a series of significant changes to the way in which civil litigation claims (including personal injury claims) are handled and funded.

The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) working with stakeholders representing Claimant and Defendant interests created a simplified process for the handling of personal injury claims which culminated in the publication of the above Pre-Action Protocol and its application to claims arising from 31 July 2013.

This Protocol describes the behaviour the Court expects of the parties prior to the start of proceedings where a Claimant claims damages valued at no more than £25,000 in an employers’ liability (EL) claim or in a public liability (PL) claim.

The aim of this Protocol is threefold:

  1. to ensure that the Defendant pays damages and costs without the need for the Claimant to start Court proceedings
  2. the damages are paid within a reasonable time, and
  3. the Claimant’s legal representative receives fixed costs at each appropriate stage.

As it approaches its first full year of operation, has the Protocol achieved its aim?  It is probably too early to say, but our experience is that Defendants are admitting liability much sooner than before and in cases where we would expect to have to litigate for an admission.  There is an incentive for Defendants’ insurers who pay less in costs if liability is admitted so that the claim remains within the Portal.  Claimants benefit too as they have the certainty of recovering compensation.

The Protocol applies when the claim arises from an accident occurring on or after 31 July 2013 or, in a disease claim, where no letter of claim has been set to the Defendant before 31 July 2013.  The claim should include damages in respect of personal injury and the value of the claim should not be more than £25,000.

If a claim exits the process at any stage, it will fall into a different regime with different timescales.

Briefly, the process involves 3 stages:-

1              Completion of the Claim Notification Form

To commence a claim a Claim Notification Form (CNF) needs to be completed and sent to the Defendant’s insurer.

2              Medical Evidence

Once an admission of liability has been received, the next step is to obtain an independent medico-legal report from an appropriate expert.

3              Procedure

If the value of the claim cannot be agreed by the parties by the end of Stage 2 of the process, then an application will be made to the Court to determine the level of compensation to be awarded.

For full details of this Protocol and the 3 stages please click on the attached information sheet.

For advice in relation to an accident at work or an accident while out and about, please contact our personal injury team.