EL claims and the new government portal – faster claims? Are client’s needs still being addressed?

In 2013 the Government decided that any claims for personal injury, as a result of an accident at work,  would mainly be dealt with using the Ministry of Justice (MOJ) “portal”.  The portal is a secure internet database which allows Claimant Representatives and Employer’s Insurance Companies to deal with claims quickly and efficiently by cutting down the need for lengthy letters and frustrating paperwork.

The portal can be used for claims with an expected value of between £1,000.00 and £25,000.00, where the accident happened after the 1st October 2013

The starting point is the Claimant, with the help of his legal representative, sending a Claims Notification Form (CNF) securely to their Employer’s insurer.  The CNF contains the Claimant’s personal details, the accident circumstances, the injuries incurred and the reasons why the Claimant holds his employer responsible for the accident – or to put in legal terms, the allegations of negligence.

There are pro’s and con’s of using the portal for claims;

PROs

  • The timescale is reduced.  In the old days, the Insurance Company had over 3 months to consider a claim.  The portal system only gives them 30 working days to make their initial investigations and come back the Claimant’s legal team with their preliminary decision on liability.  If they admit liability, the timescale for dealing with the case can be drastically reduced.
  • Quicker responses from Defendants.  The portal gives strict timescales to move the claim forwards.  This prevents Insurance Companies from dragging their feet and encourages them to get information from the Defendant quickly.
  • Environmental considerations.   The days of reams and reams of paper being posted back and forth have gone.  All the information is sent either via the secure database or by email.  This reduces paper consumption, postage costs and carbon footprint.

CONs

  • Insurance can be an issue.  If your Employers won’t provide their insurance details and they aren’t listed on an insurance database, you can’t use the portal.  There is no real sanction in place to punish the Employers if they refuse to provide details.
  • Legal costs are not covered in full.  As well as implementing the portal, the Government has also drastically reduced the costs Claimant lawyers are paid.  The majority of Claimant lawyers cannot offer 100% compensation as the fixed costs paid by the Insurance Companies do not cover the amount of work needed to pursue a claim.

On the whole, the benefits outweighs the negatives.  The portal was implemented for road traffic accidents back in 2010 and as a result, the timescales for dealing with claims have been significantly reduced.  Claimant lawyers hope that this will also apply to accidents at work.

So the fundamental objectives of pursuing a claim remain the same – the only real differences are speed and cost but none of the benefits of the portal will be relevant without combining it with expert legal advice in the first place.