The draft pre-action protocol for the RTA portal extension to cover employers’ and public liability (EL/PL) claims is a significant step towards a streamlined personal injury process but is in danger of becoming too complex to be workable according, it was claimed yesterday.
Artur Niemczewski, CEO of leading liability adjuster Garwyn, said there is “scope for improvement” upon the current draft, which was published last week. “We also await details of the proposed fixed costs tariffs, which will be key to the success of the new protocol.”
Peter Wilson, regional and technical director of Garwyn, added: “Clearly, considerable time has been spent reviewing responses to the initial consultation to formulate the draft protocol… we welcome the recognition that EL and PL claims have distinct challenges and the acceptance that certain types of injury claim are inherently unsuitable for the process. We also welcome the emphasis placed on ensuring that the claim notification has adequate detail.
“However, the protocol has elements that are too Draconian, for example the strict 24-hour acknowledgement deadline, which is likely to compel insurers to impose unprecedentedly stringent notification conditions, and offering defendants no facility to address questions to the claimant’s medical expert.
“The rules are also unduly complex in some respects, and we are concerned that defendants will face a minefield of deadlines which will trap the unwary and places too much reliance on process rather than expertise”.
Mr Niemczewski continued: “Every organisation with any involvement in EL and PL claims will be affected by what will be a profound shift in the process. The stated aim of the protocol is to accelerate outcomes and reduce costs. Those who invest in preparation should benefit, as they take advantage of the fixed costs that are the ‘carrot’ of the reforms. However, those who lack the resources or get lost in the complexities risk their insurance costs escalating, particularly if claim volumes rise to test defences.”