The CHO comments on the CJC low value PI working group report

Commenting on the publication of the Civil Justice Council (CJC) report into low value personal injury claims, Craig Budsworth, spokesperson for the Credit Hire Organisation, (CHO) which represents the UK credit hire industry, said:

“The CHO welcomes this report which adds to the ongoing debate about the government’s personal injury reform programme, although there remain some fundamental differences in approach between claimant and defendant sides, which the report makes clear.

“Considerable challenges remain before the official injury claims portal (OICP) can launch, and the CHO is ready to play its part to deliver access to justice for consumers, namely to settle their claims quickly and easily and to ensure related non-injury claims (such as mobility provision) are properly accounted for.

“In particular, we share the CJC working group’s concern that consumers making claims on their own (litigants in person) will find it difficult to navigate the new portal, and understand how it will interact with the current protocols. There is a risk of consumer detriment if LiPs settle a low value injury claim, not realising the implications if the other heads of claim remain outstanding.”

“The CHO has raised this issue with ministers and, while the new rules are still to be published, we remain keen to help the MoJ and other stakeholders resolve this challenge. In particular The CHO supports that a purported ‘full and final’ offer has no such effect other than in relation to the heads of damage specifically pursued and listed by those acting for claimants, or LiPs, in portal claims.”

“Credit hire companies provide mobility to non-fault customers who are entitled to mobility following a road traffic accident (RTA). This means they can still get to work, get children to school while their own vehicle is off the road. It is essential that this right is protected in the post reform world.”

Turning to fraud, Mr Budsworth added: “The CHO additionally supports measures to ensure the new portal is not exploited by unscrupulous claims companies seeking to maximise damages from non-whiplash elements of the claim. These include creating a single data source to combat fraud, reviewing the current multi-agency approach to fraud prevention, validating claimants via identity checks, greater public education of the impact of fraud, and tougher sanctions of fraudsters.

The focus for our members is making sure our customers are properly looked after and we share the CJC working group’s concern that once the reforms are implemented, up to 150,000 LiPs could be vulnerable to fraud. The CHO was not part of the working group and the report’s concerns about damages maximisation are speculative.

In the meantime, the CHO welcomes the opportunity to work with officials and other stakeholders to reduce any risk of consumer detriment as a result of sharp practice at any point during  the claims journey.”