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“The aim of the legislation is to reduce the time it takes for disputes to be settled by setting fixed time limits and costs for less complicated accidents. However, I can foresee there being a potential for insurers to pressurise the claimant to settle, perhaps for less than they could receive with further negotiation, in order to meet the rigid timescales. “In my mind this makes seeking expert legal advice even more important then ever before in order to ensure the full amount of compensation is obtained.”There are three stages to the new process with each stage having a fixed cost and deadline depending on the circumstances:
- The claimant’s solicitor completes a claim notification form and sends it to the insurer who may admit or deny liability.
- If liability is admitted, the claimant obtains a medical report and the process continues with settlement offers and negotiations which must be concluded within a strict time period.
- Where the parties cannot agree a settlement an application is made to take the case to court.
“The new process has meant that solicitors have had to invest time and resource in order to understand the new online claims process. If from April 30 you are unfortunate enough to be involved in accident and you intend to seek compensation then it is vital that you instruct a solicitor who is prepared to deal with the new online process to ensure they are able to meet the various strict deadlines.”Most solicitors offer victims of accidents a cost-free initial consultation during which the case is assessed. If the case isn’t pursued, the victim has gained peace of mind at no cost. Should a claim have prospects of success, then most solicitors will act on a no win, no fee basis and take immediate action to protect the victim’s position.
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