It has been just over a month since the new whiplash portal was launched, and recent reports have shown that the number of people using the Official Injury Claim (OIC) portal is low.
Figures have shown that the number of Litigants in Person was between 10-15% in the first month of the whiplash portal, and that most are still seeking representation. At the same time, there were reports that some claimant firms were still submitting OIC claims through the Ministry of Justice portal, which no longer accepts them.
A partner at one law firm spoke on a webinar recently and stated that other early findings included that claimant solicitors were “rather coy about their referral sources” – with more than 40% ticking ‘Prefer not to say’ on the system – while a large number of claimants were seeking the 20% uplift on damages for exceptional circumstances. Reasons included the vehicle collision speed and level of pain.
Psychological injuries were already “almost a given” – as there is a small extra damages payment for this – while “unsurprisingly” there were many claims for non-whiplash injuries.
Work is underway to take test cases to the Court of Appeal on how to deal with mixed injuries claims.
What the Low Uptake of LiPs Using the Whiplash Portal Could Mean for RTA Cases
In the webinar, the solicitor said that this would be bad news for both claimants and insurers alike and he expected larger claimant firms to seek arrangements with major insurers to find a way through in the meantime.
The solicitor said a lot of claims were being referred for potential fraud but wondered whether this was in part because insurers were used to claimant solicitors not making claims for whiplash that lasted no longer than a week when, under the new regime, even a couple of hours of whiplash symptoms were eligible. He has also said they expect the figure would fall even further to 5-10%, especially once legal expenses insurers more actively push their products out in the market.
One thing that may be happening with the new portal is users not understanding which, if any, portal they should use. This is likely why most people are still seeking traditional representation with their RTA claims.
This could mean that there is still a market for traditional RTA cases. This may be especially true for the hybrid cases that the Court of Appeal is working on, as these cases can be more complex than the government may have initially thought.
How we Can Help your Law Firm
Here at mmadigital we place our focus on the highest quality claims. Whether or not this includes the new claims that the whiplash reforms generate remains to be seen. However, whilst we do still deal with customers who have experienced RTAs, we focus more on other types of personal injury claims. We do this to ensure the legal firms we work with have the best quality cases possible.
If this sounds like something that could benefit your law firm, contact us today to book a demonstration of our lead generation platform.