New RTA regime to start 30th April
The new regime for dealing with low value road traffic accident claims is due to commence Friday 30th April. This relates to road traffic claims on or following that date where losses are between £1,000 and £10,000 (as defined under the scheme) which is estimated to include about 80% of all accidents of this sort.
The procedure involves the Claimant or the Claimant’s solicitor submitting a form with the appropriate information on it to the Defendant’s insurer, who then has fifteen days to respond to it. If liability is denied or contributory negligence (for a reason other than relating to wearing a seatbelt) then the claim is not progressed further under this scheme.
The second stage, which therefore assumes liability is admitted, requires the Claimant to gather evidence to complete a settlement pack to the Defendant with an offer to settle the claim. The insurer then has a fifteen day period from service of the settlement pack to accept or reject this offer and if appropriate make a counter offer. If the claim is not settled at this point, twenty days of negotiations are then allowed.
If the claim is not settled by the end of the second stage then it passes onto the third stage. The Claimant or his solicitors prepare the documents necessary for this stage to the Defendant’s insurers who then have five days to check it and make any comment. The Claimant then applies to the Court with this documentation and the Court then sets made the matter down for an adjudication. This can be on the papers or a Court hearing can be requested. The Court has to provide 21 days notice of this hearing date.
The electronic portal has to be ready by 30th April and both Claimants and their solicitors and Defendants and their insurers will need to be ready to comply with the tight timescales laid down by the new regime it if is going to work.