Latest data from Official Injury Claim – trends / headlines?

Claims data for the period December 2021 – March 2022 (inclusive) has been released by Official Injury Claim. This means there are now 10 months of experience of OIC’s operation given that it was introduced to facilitate the notification and processing of claims falling within the RTA Small Claims Protocol which was introduced from 31 May 2021. Fast track RTA claims continue to be processed via the Claims Portal Co (often referred to as the MoJ Portal).

The latest OIC data report runs to 15 pages and can be consulted here. Among the headlines are the following.

  • Claims notified via OIC now average around 25,000 per month.
  • The split between represented and unrepresented claimants remains around ten to one (91%:9%).
  • Around two thirds of cases (64%) include a statutory whiplash injury plus another injury and nearly a third (32%) include statutory whiplash injuries only.
  • Two in five (38%) unrepresented claimants claim exceptional injuries/circumstances whereas only one in four (23%) represented claimants does so.
  • Settlement data has been released for the first time, showing 17,607 claims being settled since introduction of the service and 93% of those settling in whiplash tariff bands of up to nine months’ duration of symptoms (which is unsurprising given that the service has been running for ten months).

Combining OIC data with that from Claims Portal Co indicates average monthly claims numbers of around 32,000 since OIC was introduced. Although this is notably lower than pre-reform, pre-Covid averages of more than 55,000 cases per month in the Claims Portal, the latest OIC data report notes that direct comparison is difficult, stating that “There are significant non-service factors influencing driver behaviour and accident rate. These include the impact of Covid-19 as well as the general economic factors of cost and inflation that will indirectly influence vehicle miles and vehicle parc and ultimately accident rate.”

A judicial balancing act between over and under compensation

We have to remind ourselves from time to time that the purpose of compensation is to put the injured party in the position that they would have been but for the accident, so far as money can do so. They are entitled to no more and no less, sometimes known as the 100% principle. A recent clinical negligence case covers various issues which are relevant when considering these broad principles, including issues around double recovery (of both compensation and state funding), the form of award (particularly the approach to a periodical payment order) and claims that are not recoverable (in this case, financial management through a personal injury trust).

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The impact of the Vnuk case on motor insurance could finally end in the coming months

The Motor Vehicles (Compulsory Insurance) Bill passed its final Commons stages this morning. The speeches during just over an hour’s debate again showed broad cross-party support for its core proposal, ie to remove the effects of the Vnuk and Lewis decisions from UK motor insurance law and in so doing re-set the Road Traffic Act to the pre-Vnuk position (of requiring compulsory insurance for use of road vehicles on roads or public places and not on private land).

The Bill now goes to the House of Lords for further scrutiny. Adequate time should be available for it be fully debated there and passed before the end of this Parliamentary session. If that were to happen it would mean that Vnuk-related liabilities would come to an end towards the middle of this year.

Given what we heard last week in the NI Assembly (previous blog dated 19 January), in the next few weeks we should expect to see very similar legislation being taken forward quickly in NI as well.

Update: 24 March 2022: The Bill passed its Second Reading in the Lords last week, on 18 March. Committee Stage debate is scheduled for 29 March and we understand that remaining stages should be taken on 1 April. Assuming the Bill is passed – which is highly likely given the consensus to date – it will come into force two months later. Vnuk-related liabilities will then end in England & Wales and in Scotland (although any outstanding claims will still need to be run off).

Alistair Kinley, Director of Policy & Government Affairs