The number of cases staying in the electronic portal for employers’ and public liability (EL/PL) claims is increasing, but there are also signs of claimant lawyers making deliberate errors in an effort to remove them and benefit from higher fixed recoverable costs, a leading defendant law firm has suggested.
It comes with the number of EL/PL claims submitted via the portal rising to 60,000 since it was set up last July.
The latest figures from the portal shows that by the end of April, 20,924 EL and 34,737 PL claims had been made. EL disease claims have crept up more slowly, to 7,421.
An analysis of the figures by City firm Kennedys said that the retention figures are improving month on month. “This is hopefully because claims handlers are becoming more familiar with the process and their ability to assess merits within 30 (EL) and 40 (PL) working days,” it said.
Nonetheless, 50% of EL claims have left the portal process, along with 41% of PL and 35% of EL disease claims.
While some of this may be because of claims being submitted for injuries sustained before 31 July 2013, Kennedys said: “We are… seeing certain behaviours emerge which suggest a deliberate attempt to remove claims from the portal and no doubt seek to enjoy enhanced fixed recoverable costs. This includes, for example, submission of CNFs [claim notification forms] without completion of mandatory fields, such as national insurance details.”
It said overall, the experience of compensators towards the EL/PL portal was “positive” and some were already reporting a saving on costs, and even referring to “the perception that the industry has a better reputation from being able to compensate genuine claimants more quickly”.
Elaborating on the causes of exit from the portal, it said key reasons given were incomplete CNFs and duplicate claims. It said more PL claims than EL claims cited a failure to acknowledge the CNF on time as a reason to use the exit function, which was not surprising, since tracing the insurer was more difficult in PL claims.
Meanwhile, with around 70,000 new claims now entering the RTA portal each month, Kennedys said there had been “a notable increase from the end of last year and implies that if there were any initial ‘teething problems’ with the revised portal, these have been overcome”.