The Claims Portal is an online system that is used for processing Personal Injury Claims up to the value of £25,000. Law firms and insurance companies can access the Claims Portal to deal with claims efficiently. However, not all claims will be suitable for the Claims Portal, such as in cases where it is thought to be valued in excess of £25,000.
The Claims Portal should not be confused with the Official Injury Claims Portal, which is a separate system. To find out more about the Official Injury Claims Portal, please read our guidance on the 2021 Whiplash reforms.
There are three stages in the Claims Portal process:
- Stage 1 is notification and investigation
- Stage 2 is negotiation
- Stage 3 is litigation
However, a claim will only have to go to Stage 3 in situations where a settlement cannot be reached within set time limits, or if the person claiming is under 18. The majority of cases going through the Claims Portal process can be resolved before Stage 3 is required.
Stage 1 – Notification and Investigation
In this stage, you (as the Claimant), or your legal representatives, must complete a Claim Notification Form (CNF) and submit it through the Portal.
In most cases, this will be directed towards the insurance company of the party whom you hold responsible for your injury. As such, we’ll refer to them as ‘the Insurer’.
The Insurer must acknowledge receipt of your CNF within 1 working day. They will then begin investigating your claim and must provide a response within the following time limits:
- For road traffic accidents, the Insurer must respond within 15 working days
- For employer‚ A liability claims (such as accidents at work), the Insurer must respond within 30 working days
- For public liability claims (such as trips and slips), the Insurer must respond within 40 working days.
The responses will be one of the following:
- Admitting liability
- Denying liability (supported with reasons)
- Alleging contributory negligence (essentially that you were wholly or partially at fault for your injuries)
- Stating that there is insufficient information on the CNF
Generally speaking, if the Insurer responds with any of these except number 1, your claim will exit the Claims Portal and will continue outside of the process. This can also happen if the Insurer fails to send a response within the relevant time limit.
Stage 2 – Negotiation
In this stage, a Settlement Pack is created. This will set out the amount of compensation you are seeking for your injuries and other losses. The Pack will also include the medical report(s) covering the injuries you sustained, and evidence of financial losses which you incurred as a result of the accident.
This is intended to encourage the parties to enter into open negotiation over the compensation to be awarded.
The settlement pack will be sent across to the Insurers once your evidence has been finalized, and the compensation figures set out in the Settlement Pack will constitute the first offer to settle your claim. The Insurer will then have 15 days to consider the Settlement Pack and make offers of their own. There is then a further 20-day period for the parties to negotiate. These time limits can be extended if both parties agree.
Stage 3 – Litigation
If a settlement cannot be reached within the relevant time limits of Stage 2, you or your representatives will send the Insurer a Court Proceedings Pack. The Court Proceedings Pack will request that a Court hearing is arranged to resolve the disputed issues in the case.
The Insurer must make an interim payment (a payment of compensation made whilst a claim is in progress) for the amount of compensation they offered at the end of Stage 2, otherwise your claim will leave this process.
At the Court hearing, a Judge will assess your claim and award an amount of compensation they consider reasonable. If a higher amount is awarded by the Court, than that which the Insurer paid already, the Insurer will then pay the balance and sometimes the Judge can also award interest on your damages.
A Stage 3 hearing can either be a paper hearing or an oral hearing. At a paper hearing the Judge will assess the papers and determine the amount of compensation you should receive. At an oral hearing, both parties will be represented. However, you will not need to attend the hearing. The judge will determine how much compensation you should be awarded based on the papers and oral submissions from the representatives of both parties.