What Are The Pre-Action Protocols For Low-Value Personal Injury Claims?
By Danielle Jordan. Last Updated 6th September 2023. If you’re thinking of making a personal injury claim, you might think it will be a very long and drawn-out process. However, the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) has designed procedures and protocols that all parties involved in claims should follow. The idea behind these rules is to reduce the costs involved with claiming and to try and avoid claims ending up in court. Therefore, in this guide, we’ll review the pre-action protocols for low-value personal injury claims.
Essentially, these are claims that will enter the fast-track system because they are valued at less than £25,000. Don’t worry if you think your claim might be valued at more than this amount, we could still help but different rules will apply.
Find Out How Pre-Action Protocols Work
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We are here to help when you’re ready to start your claim. To do so right away, please call us on 0800 073 8804. If you would like more information about how the claims process works before contacting us, please read on.
Select A Section
- What Is The Pre-Action Protocol For Low-value Personal Injury Claims?
- Are There Different Pre-Action Protocols For Different Claims?
- What Do Pre-Action Protocols Aim To Do?
- Sending The Letter Or Claim Notification Form
- Letter Of Claim
- The Defendants Response
- Disclosure Of Documents
- Expert Reports
- Alternative Dispute Resolution
- What Happens After The Pre-Action Protocols For Low-value Personal Injury Claims?
- Examples Of Personal Injury Claims Payouts
- Do No Win No Fee Solicitors Handle Low-value Personal Injury Claims?
- Personal Injury Pre Action Protocol – Get In Touch With Our Advisors
- Learn More About Pre-Action Protocols
Pre-action protocols for low-value personal injury claims is a format that those involved in the claim (defendants and claimants) must work on before beginning legal proceedings in court.
For a case to be deemed as low-value, the total claim value must be less than £25,000. If that’s the case, if the claim were to get to court it would enter the court’s fast-track system.
Importantly, it is very rare for personal injury claims to end up in court. That is in part due to the fact that these protocols exist. They allow for the sharing of information so that both parties can review the facts and decide who is liable for what.
There are several different pre-action protocols. As well as the low-value personal injury claims protocols that we’ll discuss in more detail, the others include:
- Low-value road traffic accident claims.
- Low-value claims protocols involving employers’ liability and public liability.
- Industrial illness and disease claim protocols.
- Clinical dispute protocols.
We won’t cover these protocols within this guide so please feel free to use the links above to learn more.
Low Value RTA Protocols – Whiplash Reform Programme
Pre action protocols can differ when making a low value Road Traffic Accident claim. This is because you would claim through the Whiplash Reform Programme instead. However, certain stipulations must be met in order to claim in this way.
Your claim must:
- Have occurred on or after 31st May 2021
- Take place in England or Wales
- Be worth less than £5,000
- Concern a road traffic accident injury (not just whiplash)
- Affect a driver/passenger 18 or over
You can still claim if you do not meet the Whiplash Reform Programme criteria, but you could not claim through the portal. You’d need to claim in the traditional way.
Get in touch today to find out more about the pre action protocol for a personal injury, and personal injury protocol in general.
In personal injury claims, the pre-action protocols set out a number of steps that should be followed. They are designed to make it easy for each party to know what’s expected of them.
It also makes it clear when actions should be completed by too. Therefore, over the next few sections, we’ll review each of the important steps that must be taken.
The first action in any personal injury claim is for the claimant to write to the defendant. The letter will explain basic details and tell the defendant that a claim is going to be made.
At this stage, the claimant may not have all the evidence they need to start a formal claim but this letter begins the claims process. Defendants, or their insurers, should respond to acknowledge receipt of the letter within 14 days.
The purpose of compensation is to help the claimant recover from any injuries. Whether they be physical or psychological, the claims process aims to return the claimant to the position they were in (or as much as possible) before the accident happened. Therefore, where possible, treatment should begin as early as possible.
As a result, the pre-action protocol says that the claimant should set out any rehabilitation requirements. Essentially, this is where the claimant’s solicitor will ask the defendant’s insurers to pay for any care costs or non-NHS treatment.
If possible, both parties should try to agree upon early rehabilitation. This will obviously help the claimant to deal with their injuries sooner. Importantly, though, as it could lead to shorter recovery times, it could make the claim less costly for the defendant as well. Therefore, starting treatment before the claim is settled could be beneficial to all involved.
Once the claimant’s solicitor has enough information, they should send a letter of claim to the defendant and their insurer. For low-value claims, the Claim Notification Form could be accepted if it has already acted as a letter of claim because it contained enough information.
The letter should contain important details about the claim including:
- The name and address of the claimant.
- Details of the accident.
- The date, time and location the accident took place.
- Brief information about how the accident occurred.
- Why the claimant blames the defendant for the accident and subsequent injuries.
- An outline of the injuries being claimed for.
- Information about which hospital, GP surgery or minor injuries unit treated the injuries.
- Information about whether the claimant is still suffering. If so, the solicitor may ask if the defendant will offer to cover the costs of rehabilitation (see the previous section).
- Details about whether the claimant is unable to work at the moment. Also, details of any lost earnings that have accrued so far.
- Details of any other losses, expenses or costs.
Where a letter of claim has been sent, the defendant or insurer should respond within 21 days. If neither the insurance company nor the defendant responds with this timeframe, the claimant could have grounds to begin court proceedings.
If a response is received from the defendant’s insurers, they will have up to 3 months to carry out their own investigations. Before those 3 months are up, the insurer or the defendant should respond and explain whether they admit liability for the accident or not.
Where liability is denied by the defendant, they should explain why. In this scenario, they should offer an alternative explanation for the accident and send documentation to the claimant that they’ll use to defend their position.
The next step of the pre-action protocols for low-value personal injury claims is for the claimant to send documents to support their case. Generally, these will relate to special damages (financial losses). For example, they might send documents showing:
- Evidence to show their loss of earnings.
- Proof of paying for car hire, for example, in road traffic accident claims.
- Receipts to show any costs relating to replacing items that were damaged during the accident.
- Other financial documents like bank statements to show other losses.
In fast track claims, you may only need one report. This will be a medical report from an independent medical expert such as a doctor. It is important that the solicitor for the claimant checks this report carefully. That’s because, once it has been submitted, they can’t challenge the information within it.
Generally, claims will only require one report from one medical expert. However, where there are multiple injuries, multiple reports might be required if they are covered by experts with different medical specialities.
Before proceeding to formal legal proceedings in court, there may be an alternative way of resolving the dispute if both parties cannot reach an agreement over liability. Considering alternative dispute resolution is part of the pre-action protocols because it:
- Can avoid the stress involved with providing evidence in court.
- Reduce how long the claim takes to be resolved.
- Reduce the costs involved in settling a claim.
There are several different ways of resolving disputes prior to a court hearing. They include:
- Negotiation and discussion between both parties. This option may have passed at this point but it is worth considering as it could be the cheapest option.
- Mediation – where a third party acts as a facilitator to try and help achieve a resolution.
- Arbitration – where a third party hears both sides and decides on the outcome of the dispute.
- Early neutral evaluation – this is where a third party investigates and then provides an informed opinion on who is to blame.
As you can see, there is a lot that can be done to achieve a decision on your case before it needs to go to court.
As we said earlier, very few personal injury claims do make it to court. That’s partly because of the pre-action protocols for low-value personal injury claims. It’s also because solicitors will only take on cases they believe they can win after they have been reviewed thoroughly.
If your claim is not settled by the pre-action protocol process, what happens next? Well, your solicitor will need to review what’s happened. This is where they may review the strengths of the case again. They will then need to decide whether you should take the claim through the courts.
Once court proceedings have been issued, a date will be set for when the hearing will take place. Importantly, a pre-trial agreement can still be agreed upon up until the court proceedings begin.
As you can see, the pre-action protocols for low-value personal injury claims mean that the claims process is as efficient as possible. They also mean that most cases are settled out of court.
If you would like to see if one of our solicitors could help you start a claim, why not call an advisor today?
Personal Injury Claim Time Limits For Low Value Claims
All cases must start the pre action protocol for personal injury claims within the time limit set by the Limitation Act 1980, regardless of their value. This is typically three years from the date of the accident that caused your injuries.
However, in some circumstances, there are limitation period exceptions. These include:
- Those who lack the mental capacity to bring forward their own claim. For these parties, an indefinite suspension is applied to the time limit. During this time, a court-appointed litigation friend can act on their behalf. If the injured party regains this mental capacity and a claim was not already started for them, they will have 3 years from the date it was deemed that they recovered this capacity to begin the process.
- Those under the age of 18 at the time of their injuries. For these parties, the time limit is frozen until the day they turn 18. Prior to this date, a litigation friend can bring forward the claim for them. However, if they turn 18 and proceedings were not started on their behalf, they will have 3 years from the date of their 18th birthday to begin the process.
Get in touch with an advisor for help with the low value personal injury protocol.
Legal professionals will consider many factors when calculating personal injury claims payouts. For example, some personal injury claims include special damages, which we explore in the next section.
If you are eligible to claim, you will receive general damages. General damages are awarded for pain and suffering.
In the table below, you can see bracketed amounts from the Judicial College Guidelines (JCG). The JCG provides guidelines when assigning value to general damages. However, the amounts shown are not guaranteed for a successful claim.
|Injury to||Severity Level||Settlement Bracket||Notes|
|Head||Minor (e)||£2,210 to £12,770||Covers minor head injuries. Any settlement will be based upon the severity of the injury, continuing symptoms, recovery time and the presence of headaches.|
|Back||Minor (i)||£7,890 to £12,510||Soft tissue injuries which take 2 to 5 years to recover from without surgery.|
|Teeth||Serious (i)||£8,730 to|
|Serious damage or loss of several front teeth.|
|Wrist||Moderate (d)||£6,080 to £10,350||Fractures which need longer than normal to recover from but result in no lasting damage.|
|Toe||Moderate (e)||Up to £9,600||Lacerations, straightforward fractures, or exacerbation of existing injuries.|
|Chest||(g)||Up to £3,950||Serious pain and disability that may last a few weeks from rib fractures or soft tissue injuries.|
|Facial scarring||Trivial (e)||£1,710 to £3,530||Minor impact from facial scarring.|
Call our advisors to talk about the pre-action protocol for personal injury claims.
In addition to claiming for your injuries, you could also have any expenses caused by your injuries paid back. This is called a special damages claim.
Special damages could include care costs, medical expenses, travel costs, lost income, future lost earnings and the cost of modifying your vehicle or home to help you deal with any disabilities.
To help prove special damages, evidence will be needed. Therefore, receipts, bank statements and wage slips should all be retained if they prove your financial losses. They can be sent during the disclosure stage of the pre-action protocols.
We do have a compensation calculator, but we can also help value your claim in other ways. If you’d like us to assess what your claim might be worth, please call our advisors today. Your case will be reviewed on a no-obligation basis and you’ll receive free legal advice too.
If you make a personal injury claim, the thought of losing the money you’ve spent on a solicitor’s fees can be off-putting. That’s not something you’ll need to worry too much about with us. That’s because all of our solicitors provide a No Win No Fee service for any claims they accept.
Before they agree to represent you, our solicitors check whether your claim has strong enough grounds. If they believe they can help you, they’ll send a Conditional Fee Agreement (the formal term for a No Win No Fee agreement) for you to review. It will show you what needs to happen before you need to pay any solicitor’s fees.
The No Win No Fee agreement explains the solicitor’s success fee. If your claim doesn’t work out, you don’t pay this fee.
However, if you are compensated, your solicitor will deduct the fee from your award. In the No Win No Fee agreement, the success fee is listed as a small percentage of the settlement amount. By law, this is capped so that you truly benefit from your compensation.
To check whether a No Win No Fee solicitor could help you, please call our advisors today.
If you find yourself still asking, “what is the pre action protocol for personal injury claims?”, then we are available on a 24/7 basis to answer your questions. If you’ve suffered due to a personal injury, pre action protocols are important to understand.
There are a few ways you can get in touch:
- Use our live chat.
- Call our claims line on 0800 073 8804.
- Arrange a callback by completing our online enquiry form.
- Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org to let us know about your case.
Don’t hesitate to reach out for information on the pre-action protocol for personal injury claims.
In this part of our guide, we have linked some useful resources and guides that might help you. Please let us know if you need any additional advice.
Whiplash Reform Programme – Government advice on claiming for low-value whiplash injuries sustained in an RTA.
The Ministry of Justice – This article sets out the roles and responsibilities of the MoJ.
The Motor Insurers’ Bureau – An organisation that you could claim through if injured in an RTA where the other driver is not insured.
We have lots more guides on personal injury claims which you can browse below:
- A guide to the claims process
- Climbing wall activity accident claims
- Claiming compensation for quad bike injuries
- Activity centre injuries – how to claim compensation
- Claiming compensation for a mountain bike injury
- How does the personal injury claim process work?
- Missing tile accident claims
- Success fees in personal injury cases
- How many claims go to court?
- Special damages in personal injury claims
- CCTV footage in personal injury cases
- Claiming compensation for injuries caused by faulty furniture
- How to claim against your employer
- Compensation tables for personal injury
- Try our personal injury claims calculator
- Multi-story car park accident claims
- How much compensation can you get for a personal injury claim?
You have reached the end of this guide about the pre-action protocols for low-value personal injury claims.
Written by Hambridge
Edited by Victorine