Mixed injuries working group aims to take a range of test cases to Court of Appeal ‘as quickly as possible’

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As first instance judgments are starting to come through, Martin Saunders, Official Injury Claim’s portal head of service, says the mixed injuries working group is aiming to take a range of test cases to Court of Appeal “as quickly as possible”.

The group, set up by the Motor Insurers’ Bureau, with representation from Association of Personal Injury Lawyers, Association of British Insurers and Motor Accident Solicitors’ Society and their respective members, aims to take forward a range of test cases to seek guidance from the senior courts “as quickly as possible now that Part 1 of the Civil Liability Act is in force”.

Saunders explained that this work is needed as neither the Civil Liability Act or the regulations directly address the question of how to value damages for pain, suffering and loss of amenity where a claimant suffers both a whiplash injury, to which a tariff will apply, and another injury to which no tariff will apply.

Saunders told Post: “When we are going to see an outcome depends on a number of things. The dependency here is getting cases to a point of settlement, actually disagreeing on those cases so they go to court and get that first instance judgments.”

He added that first instance judgments are now starting to arrive “in greater numbers” and they are being analysed by Mark Harvey, partner in charge of the specialist claims group at Hugh James for the claimant side, and Andrew Parker, head of strategic litigation at Dac Beachcroft for the defendant side.

But how quickly they reach the Court of Appeal depends on “how they select their basket”.

He explained: “When I say select they basket, what they are trying to do is to establish some smaller cases - so whiplash that’s sorted itself over short period of time, and whiplash that’s taking a longer period of time to deal with, and actually non-tariff element, non-whiplash element – so that they have this combination of big cases, little cases, cases with small whiplash big injury element and so on.

“All of that is going to take a little while to assemble.”

He explained that both claimant and defendant representative will have their own aims in terms of “what they want” out of this.

He continued: “The opportunity here is to go eventually to the Court of Appeal, rather than with a tiny individual case-by-case to allow judges to see that broad spectrum of cases and actually say ‘this judgment makes sense for the entire market’.”

In the meantime, however, Saunders pointed out that cases are settling “irrespective of this dispute”.

According to fourth set of data from the OIC portal, 280,172 claims were submitted into the portal since the launch. 

Out of claims submitted, 16,994 cases were settled between 1 April and 30 June, and 34,548 claims have been settled since the launch of the service.

He said: “Cases are still settling, people are still getting paid in the background, but clearly it will be helpful to form a market perspective.”

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