What Is Alternative Dispute Resolution And How Does It Affect Your Personal Injury Compensation Claim?
Posted on 2nd April 2020
The news that the “whiplash Reforms” have been delayed is no surprise, given the new system is not ready. What was a surprise was that at the same time, it was confirmed that the Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) option would not be available to Claimants. The Whiplash Reforms is the common name for the changes to how people will be able to pursue personal injury claims following soft tissue injuries in Road Traffic Accidents and the subsequent awards they will receive. Having a specialist Personal Injury team, MG Legal, your personal injury solicitor in Garstang, have been following these developments closely.
What is ADR?
ADR is the broad term given to a number of, usually free, options offered to parties who cannot reach agreement, the two most common being Mediation, where an independent third party tries to help the parties find common ground. A mediator can help to add structure to an otherwise contentious communication process and encourage a different mindset, it is after all easy to become blinkered when you are at loggerheads with another party for a long period of time.
The other, most common, option is Arbitration, which many will also recognise as the Ombudsman Services. The arbitrator, an independent third party, will consider the facts and provide a binding decision.
Why would this be important in the new claims process?
ADR is, quite often, a great leveller and can stop the individual being ‘bullied’ by a large company. Conversely, it can also help the individual, who generally has no legal experience, see a wider view by a trained mediator explain different points of view.
In terms of the RTA whiplash reforms, any soft tissue injury valued at £5000.00 or less, would be deemed Small Claims Track, making legal fees irrecoverable. So, when faced with making a claim, the individual is at a disadvantage as they are squaring up to a multi-million, if not multi-billion-pound corporation with legal expertise and experience in dealing with claims. Whilst damages will be dealt with on a clear, fixed scale, this does not assist if liability (fault) or causation (that the incident was serious enough to have caused injury) is disputed.
ADR would, to some degree, have redressed the balance and prevented the need for issuing County Court proceedings, where the mismatch will be even more apparent. Most individuals would have no idea how to counter the use of case-law such as Kearsley v Klarfled and Casey v Cartwright or what LVI (low velocity impact) cases mean in terms of realistically disproving it.
What alternatives are there?
Robert Buckland MP, the Justice Secretary, stated that “Claimants will now be required to take their claims through the courts, with ‘bespoke processes’ developed to help them through litigation.”. How this will unfold remains to be seen. Whatever happens, rest assured MG Legal, your personal injury solicitor in Garstang, will still be here to assist you as we have before.
Is this fair?
We don’t think it is, MG Legal, your personal injury solicitor in Garstang has extensive expertise in this type of claim and we know only too well how, over the past decades, insurance companies have invested heavily in fighting RTA Personal Injury claims on all fronts and they generally have in-house and external solicitors in abundance to fight each claim. Attempting to force the individual to content with the behemoth is truly a David v Goliath situation, although this time David isn’t allowed his slingshot.
Where does this leave the individual?
The individual is left with two realistic options, they may either take on the insurance company directly, hoping that there are no issues raised and the insurance company agrees to make a payment. If not, they can issue proceedings and represent themselves at Trial, probably against a barrister with many years’ experience in this type of matter. Alternatively, MG Legal, your personal injury solicitor in Garstang, fully intends to continue offering services to people who have been injured in Road Traffic Accidents. Come to MG Legal and we will offer the same, highly successful, service to ensure you are not bullied by the big insurers.
How do I instruct MG Legal?
Our service is the same as ever and we do not see this changing in August 2020 when the new reforms are expected to come into force. Simply get in touch with us by phone, email, web-contact form or by dropping into one of our offices in Garstang, Lancaster or Longridge and we will put you in touch with one of our specialist personal injury team. We aim to accept all personal injury claims on a “no win, no fee” basis and we won’t be changing that in August either. So if you have been injured as a result of any type of incident that was not your fault, get in touch with MG Legal, your personal injury solicitor in Garstang and we will look to get the ball rolling on your claim the same day.
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