Penningtons Manches’ personal injury team  has raised concerns about the potential impact on claimants of the latest changes to the Claims Portal process which came into effect on 1 October 2014.

The Claims Portal is an electronic system for handling a variety of personal injury claims up to a value of £25,000. Cases where liability is accepted are handled under the process, with claimants’ solicitors receiving a fixed fee for the investigations they carry out. If liability is denied however, the claim will drop out of the Claims Portal process and be handled in accordance with the normal rules of civil litigation.

Last year the fixed fee that solicitors could recover for road traffic accident claims was cut from £1,200 to £500. For employer liability and public liability claims, a fixed fee of £900 is applied to claims up to £10,000 or £1,600 for claims up to £25,000.

The new changes are not aimed at solicitors but at the medical experts who are instructed to report on these injuries. Under new rules for soft tissue injury claims, the claimant will have permission to obtain a report from one medical expert, with a reporting fee limited to £180. If a second report is subsequently required, this too will be limited depending on the speciality involved. Further restrictions have been applied to the fees allowed for obtaining medical records and seeking addendum reports.