By: 18 April 2024
First4InjuryClaims: proposals for road traffic accident claims rejected, but door remains ajar

Andrew Wild, head of legal practice at First4InjuryClaims.


Myself and other stakeholders came together last year to discuss our experiences of using the Official Injury Claim (OIC) portal, the service set up to help road traffic accident victims pursue claims as part of the whiplash reforms.

Hosted by the Motor Insurers’ Bureau, the in-person roundtables for claimant and defendant representatives, plus other interested parties, provided plenty of food for thought. For the participants, at least. However, recently published minutes from the OIC Advisory Group’s last meeting show that 15 of the 22 proposals put forward had been dismissed by the MoJ without further consideration.

Those who took the trouble to attend could be forgiven for thinking that, once again, they had not been listened to. However, although progress is slow, there are some small positives to take. Ministers have at least left the door open for possible action on the remaining points.


Medical reporting

Some compensators and defendant representatives at the roundtables suggested that all claimants, whether represented or unrepresented, should be made to follow the same medical evidence process. It was also proposed that there should be a time limit on the disclosure of medical reports, borne out of the belief that some claimants may be holding them back in case their recovery takes longer than predicted, something that claimant representatives strongly refute.

Bringing forward such a proposal would represent a fundamental change in the long-standing rules and doctrine of legal privilege. Further, and was emphasised at the roundtable, there is no benefit to a claimant, or their representatives, of unnecessarily withholding a medical report from disclosure. The aim for all parties is for the claimant to receive the appropriate compensation award as efficiently as possible.

Finally, to ensure the accuracy of the data, law firms and compensators need to ensure their claims in the OIC are up to date and certainly before any conclusions are drawn, or any further policy decisions by the MoJ are made.

The government says these points will be addressed in its response to feedback received as part of the ‘Revisions to the Medical Reporting Process for Road Traffic Accident Claims’ consultation. Publication is expected later this year.


Alternative dispute resolution

Alternative dispute resolution was part of the original proposal for the OIC and the government hasn’t ruled it out. Yet.

However, it says creating a system just for the OIC is unwarranted given the “existing functionality of the service and future reform”, the latter referring to the government’s plans to introduce mediation into all lower value civil claims.

While it may not be the quick fix claimant representatives were hoping for, any move to avoid litigation and ease pressure on the courts already drowning in a backlog of cases is to be welcomed. It cannot come soon enough.


Transferring claims

Stakeholder input has led to some improvements to the transfer process, but it is only partial progress.

The automated request process for transferring pre-liability claims between compensators is to be updated as suggested and the process of transferring claims in bulk will be streamlined.

Roundtable participants also flagged issues with individual claimants changing legal representatives or starting a claim before instructing one and the lack of ability to transfer a claim that originated in the OIC but exits over to the RTA portal due to its value. Instead, the claim must be withdrawn.

Whilst the volume may be low, this roadblock causes significant delay and detriment to the claimant.



We can effect change when we stand together, as the recent supreme court judgment shows.

I express my sincere thanks to the team at Robert James Solicitors for their intervention in taking this important issue through the court process. Were it not for such concerned claimant representatives, those who suffer mixed injuries after an accident could be looking at much reduced compensation.

Similarly, it was incumbent on claimant representatives to speak up for those they act for in a recent call for evidence ahead of the statutory review of the whiplash tariff, the findings of which are expected next month.

The wheels of justice do indeed turn slowly, and lawyers may often feel like they aren’t listened to, but it is the sharing of our experience, knowledge and opinion that has and will continue to help shape legislation, and on which consumers’ access to justice depends.


Image: Provided by Black Letter Communications.
Emma Cockings
Emma is a content editor for Claims Media. Emma is a experienced writer with a background in client-centric personal injury for a major firm. She has attended and reported on multiple brokerage events throughout her career.