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Personal injury

Dangers of DIY claims post whiplash reforms

Managing Director of Personal Injury Services, Matt Jarvis, explains the dangers of DIY claims post whiplash reforms, and what the solution is.

26 May 2021

Expert profile of Matt Jarvis

Inspired by colleagues’ tales of home improvement triumphs during lockdown, I recently decided to try my hand at installing new skirting boards in my spare room.

Pausing after the fifth assault on my thumb by my hammer, I surveyed the work to that point and realised it was time to face reality. I had neither the tools nor the necessary experience to finish the job.

Like most of us attempting do-it-yourself projects, there comes a moment when it’s time to call a professional. If you’re lucky, they arrive before you’ve done irreparable damage. I’d reached that point.

As someone whose career has been all about helping personal injury victims, my DIY disaster gave me pause for thought.

Impact of Civil Liability Act

On 31 May, the Government’s whiplash reforms will come into force following the long-awaited implementation of the 2018 Civil Liability Act.

This will encourage those who have suffered soft-tissue injuries following road-traffic collisions to make compensation claims themselves as Litigants in Person.

The Ministry of Justice is in the process of unveiling the online portal that claimants will use. The promise is that it will making the whole process accessible. But I fear many of the hundreds of thousands of people injured on the country’s roads each year could find themselves in a similar situation to me over the weekend – part-way through a process and in desperate need of help.

However, unlike most home-renovation jobs, botching a complex legal claim can cause long-lasting or even irreparable damage. Without careful advice, support and guidance, claimants might feel forced to give up completely before a conclusion has been reached. Others might receive far less compensation than they are entitled, either for the injuries themselves or for other associated costs like loss of earnings or rehabilitation costs.

The downsides don’t just fall on accident victims. Take insurers, for example, they don’t want their customers feeling they’ve been abandoned, left to negotiate a bewildering government portal without help.

As a business with a mission to give people easier access to legal services, Slater and Gordon has committed to helping victims in a post-reform world.

An expert on hand when you're out of your depth

To do this, we’ve launched micase Road Traffic Accident - the first in a line of products built on an entirely new digital platform which will guide people through the process. A unique feature is automation which will make expert advice available only when it is needed but leave the claimant in charge when it’s not.

This will help reduce costs without compromising on the quality of service people expect from us.

Micase RTA has also been shaped with the goal of enabling all partners and stakeholders to come together and resolve issues in the interest of claimants – it’s a platform that seamlessly integrates different services providers into the process.

This ethos goes far beyond close cooperation with the insurance industry and the creation of a technology solution to allow customers’ cases to be migrated into the micase RTA system. It’s also shown by our efforts to come together with other leading service providers to devise and pilot an alternative dispute resolution process which delivers lower costs and quicker resolutions for customers.

Technology + Expertise = Positive Customer Outcome

The reforms certainly introduce some challenges and uncertainties. However, looking ahead, technology, innovation and the ability to adapt will be key to navigating a way through this.

Micase RTA is the first product on a customer-focused technology called miplatform, on which we’ll add more services. It will be an indispensable interactive on-stop secure window into the legal services they need for life’s big events – from buying or selling a home, getting divorced, arranging a will.

By using the new Slater and Gordon miplatform, we want everyone to feel like they have all the tools and expertise they need to gain access the justice.

Just like with DIY, there are times we all need a helping hand.

Matt Jarvis - Managing Director of Personal Injury Services

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