A working group of claimant lawyers and insurers in England and Wales has come together to help resolve the thorny issue of resolving mixed-injury claims, according to the Law Gazette of England and Wales.
The group was formed this week to seek clarity from the Court of Appeal on dealing with claims where the victim has both whiplash injuries and other injuries.
The Gazette had reported earlier this week that uncertainty remained about what damages to claim, now that whiplash injuries are subject to a fixed tariff but other bodily injuries are not.
Matthew Maxwell Scott, executive director of the Association of Consumer Support Organisations, said claimants were now in a “legal no-man’s land”, not knowing whether any offer was fair or not.
The Motor Insurance Bureau (MIB), the creators of Official Injury Claim, the portal for handling all claims of less than £5,000, has confirmed it will take forward a range of test cases to bring before the courts with the aim of obtaining clarity.
The Association of British Insurers, the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers and the Motor Accident Solicitors Society are all represented on the group.
The MIB said the work was needed as neither the Civil Liability Act nor the regulations directly addressed this issue.
“Unless and until definitive guidance on how to value the damages for pain, suffering and loss of amenity is provided, all share concerns that it will be unclear how claims with overlap between tariff and non-tariff injuries should settle,” said the MIB.
According to the Gazette, the group will discuss parameters for identifying suitable cases and interim compensation arrangements to ensure individual claimants are not disadvantaged.
Ministry of Justice officials are aware of the proposal. The ministry has already said that judges will be left to resolve test cases.
In Ireland, Personal Injuries Guidelines published by the Judicial Council came into effect in April. These set out guidelines on the level of damages that may be awarded for a wide range of injuries, including whiplash.