The Official Injury Claims (OIC) portal launched on 31st May 2021, and since its launch, it has become apparent that there are particular issues with its functionality that pose a problem to litigants in person that make the process incredibly difficult. Its perhaps understandable that following the whiplash reforms and introduction of the OIC portal, there has been much scrutiny from solicitors and the public as to the simplicity of the system build so the public can manage their own whiplash claims.
However, some of these issues encountered by litigants in person are proving a challenge, not least those surrounding hybrid injury claims. Both the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) and the Motor Insurers’ Bureau (MIB) have been made aware of potential pitfalls in relation to mixed injury cases. However advanced technology is, it can’t always replace the human element. Especially within the claims process, where it is impossible to create a ‘one-way fits all’ approach, as all claims are different, particularly those which involve more than one injury type.
Portal Designed for Whiplash-only Injury Claims
The existing soft tissue whiplash injury tariff table has fundamentally been created to enable the progression of low value, ‘whiplash injury-only’ claims, and doesn’t as yet make allowances for individuals pursuing claims for more multiple injuries.
This oversight means that as it currently stands, in the event that a litigant in person has sustained another injury type (for example, a psychological one, or broken bones, etc), in addition to their recognised whiplash injury, then there’s no means by which to address the overall compensation.
This underlying issue can be traced back to the Civil Liability Act 2018, where there was an omission of any regulations referring to this plausible scenario arising. Whereby more than a singular whiplash injury noted as part of a claim, could cause a certain amount of disarray.
Why Might This Be a Problem?
It’s perfectly feasible that a litigant in person has experienced more than a singular injury as a direct result of being involved in a road traffic accident. In fact, reports infer that annually in the region of 130,000 people involved in RTA’s report suffering multiple injuries. If not in the immediate aftermath of an accident, then ones which develop over time. Solicitors point to anecdotal evidence of shifts to multiple injury claims before the whiplash reforms.
The introduction of these reforms now means that a percentage of litigants in person could now be effectively caught in something similar to a legal ‘no man’s land’. In real terms, this means resolving litigation without under-compensated claimants would be a risk.
What’s The Solution?
According to the MoJ, and as of the beginning of June, there’s nothing immediately that can be done to fix this. Yet the ministry stresses that they are committed to ensuring that the existing system isn’t undermined by this flaw and subsequent negative press. So much so, that the Insurance Times has confirmed that a cross-sector working group has been promptly set up, with a directive to quickly establish a framework for ‘mixed’ or ‘hybrid’ claims which is fit for purpose.
The hastily-assembled group – spearheaded by the MIB – will benefit from representation from the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL), the Association of British Insurers (ABI) and the Motor Accident Solicitors Society (MASS). In addition to this, a number of appropriate test cases are being prepared by the Court of Appeal to lend clarification to the damages position, as soon as possible.
Other Bugs Detected in the System
The hybrid injuries issue isn’t the only bug blighting the roll-out of the Official Injury Claims portal. Elsewhere users have identified other niggles which again need ironing out. These have included the system not acknowledging double-barrelled names nor the number 5.
The overriding concern is that these series of setbacks might discourage litigants in person from using the OIC portal, and there’s mounting evidence to suggest that this may be the case. With one leading insurer noting that a mere 12% of cases they’d received so far had come from litigants in person, while observing that they’d witnessed fewer cases than they’d anticipated.
And almost prophetically, said motor insurer voiced opinion as to how they’d like to see more live testing to rectify the bugs. Which of course, is now a reality being perpetuated by the aforementioned collective bodies and organisations.
How DIYPI Can Help You Do the OIC Portal for Yourself
Help is at hand if you are worried about negotiating the Official Injury Claim portal on your own. That help is offered in the shape of our team of personal injury claim management experts at DIYPI.
We’re here to make sense of the Official Injury Claims portal and ensure that your litigant in person journey is as stress-free as possible.
Claimants can rely on us to set them in the right direction as they seek compensation, by trusting in a claims management provider who has over 18 years’ experience operating within the legal sector, who provide whiplash reforms advice and guidance whenever it’s needed by you, at no cost.
Get in touch with us right now, if you require assistance with your personal injury claims process via the OIC portal.