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MoJ admits thousands of unresolved claims clogging up RTA portal

By John Hyde >>

(25 May 2022)

The Ministry of Justice has insisted the claims portal is working well for most users – despite thousands of unsettled claims starting to clog up the system.

David Parkin, deputy director of civil justice and law policy for the MoJ, revealed yesterday that 185,000 claims are currently active in Official Injury Claim, the portal for handling lower-value RTA cases.

Since the system launched almost a year ago, 243,000 claims have been lodged, of which around 23,000 have been settled and a similar number have exited. The majority of the rest – around 100,000 – are awaiting the medical to be uploaded, with a significant proportion also requiring negotiation between the parties.

One of the biggest obstacles to settlement is the issue of hybrid claims, where claimants report both whiplash (covered by a compensation tariff) and other injuries (which are not). Claimant and defendant representatives continue discussions over a potential test case to bring before the court and establish the position on hybrid claims.

Claimant firms have told the Gazette of a growing issue with making large volumes of claims. One practice said OIC has not been integrated with its claims system, forcing case handlers to submit claims more than once, leading to rejections.

Speaking at an Association of British Insurers conference yesterday, Donna Scully, director at Liverpool firm Carpenters Group, said: ‘The tech and design are causing this backlog and we are just not able to get cases through a very poor system. Fixing something already in the system is difficult and we are live testing on live cases. We can’t load information to insurers and they don’t know if they have received it. Customers can’t get settlements despite buying legal expenses insurance policies.’

David Bott, of north west firm Bott & Co, added: ‘When clients ask how long their case will take and what they stand to receive, our answer is currently “don’t know” and “don’t know”.’

Parkin told the same conference that the system has worked well for litigants in person – who account for around 9% of claims – but conceded there had been issues with performance. ‘I don’t know of any IT service, especially one the government is remotely associated, that has been without some problems,’ he said. 

‘This has been remarkably short of problems for some people. It has worked really well on the web-based side. It has been a little bumpy for some, especially those dealing with larger volumes. The Motor Insurers’ Bureau [which runs the system] is working through and fixing a lot of it.’

Parkin said there are no plans to introduce mandatory alternative dispute resolution in the system, after initial plans for this provision were dropped before the portal went live.

He added: ‘It would be irresponsible to make it compulsory overnight when the capacity is not there. There is an increasing desire to mandate in the right claims. [But] if you are going to ramp up mediation, you need someone to do it in sufficient numbers, someone to organise it and someone to regulate it.’

(Courtesy: The Law Society Gazette)