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New RTA claims process

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A new claims process for low value RTA claims has recently been agreed between claimant groups and insurers, mediated by the Civil Justice Council, which will see Claimant personal injury solicitors face significant cuts in fees for cases worth between £1

A new claims process for low value RTA claims has recently been agreed between claimant groups and insurers, mediated by the Civil Justice Council, which will see Claimant personal injury solicitors face significant cuts in fees for cases worth between £1,000.00 and £10,000.00 where liability has been admitted.

The Ministry of Justice has however announced that the new procedure will now take effect from April 2010; abandoning the originally planned inception of October 2009.

Under the new process, solicitors will receive £400.00 for ‘stage 1', which is intimating a new claim for a decision on liability. For ‘stage 2', instructing a medical expert to agree quantum where liability is admitted, solicitors will receive a further £800.00. If no agreement on quantum is forthcoming at this point, a streamlined Court assessment of quantum will take place - ‘stage 3'. The presumption is that this will be a paper hearing, for which solicitors will be paid £250.00, however (to preserve the Claimant's Human Rights) an oral hearing can be opted for, for which solicitors will be paid £500.00.

There are also provisions for further medical evidence in more complex matters, and for cases involving children an extra £500.00 is available. For cases funded by way of a Conditional Fee Agreement a Success Fee of 12.5% will apply to stages 1 and 2, whereas for stage 3 matters a success fee of up to 100% can be claimed.

The current predictable costs regime, however, has survived the new process and will continue to apply to cases where there is a failure to keep up with the timetable or where contributory negligence (except seatbelt issues) is asserted. Such cases will be required to exit the system into the predictable costs regime.

When the new claims process is inaugurated it seems that there may be three different costs regimes applying to low value RTAs; fixed fees for cases within the new claims process, predictable costs for cases that fall outside the new claims process but have a value of less than £10,000.00 and standard basis costs for cases that fall outside the predictable costs regime. It seems that the valuation of claim at the early stages is to become even more important.

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