Guide to the Conduct of Cases involving serious injury - DAC Beachcroft

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Guide to the Conduct of Cases involving serious injury

Published On: 1 November 2015

The Serious Injury Guide is intended to be published on a dedicated website on 12 October, providing a code of conduct for the handling of high value claims. It has been produced through consultations between APIL, FOIL and representatives from insurers, including those linked to ISCIF.

It is intended as a successor to the Multi Track Code and marks a clear attempt by these representative groups to establish agreement on broad principles of best practice in the handling of such claims. There has been substantial buy-in with already almost 40 specialist claimant firms (which include most of the major market players) having agreed to conduct cases in accordance with the principles, as well as many leading insurers. A list of those firms and insurers who are supporting the initiative will be on the website from 12 October and will be regularly updated.

We would encourage anyone handling catastrophic injury claims to visit the website after its launch. The following is a brief summary of how it may work.

  • It is voluntary code and does not currently have the weight of a Pre-Action Protocol or attract sanctions;
  • It is designed for cases with an assumed value >£250,000;
  • The Guide encourages positive collaborative behaviour from both sides and mutual case planning/progression;
  • The Guide focusses on the pre-action relationship of Claimant's Solicitors and Insurers. The Defendant Law Firms are included essentially as the Agents of the Insurers who sign-up;
  • Each participating Insurer will provide an address and contact to whom any claims with a value >£250,000 are to be sent. The details will be published with the Guide on a designated website so that Claimant's Solicitors can send significant claims to that part of an Insurance Company which will identify the seriousness and act accordingly;
  • Each participating Claimant firm and Insurer will provide an escalation contact for complaints about conduct not being in accordance with the Guide and its principles;
  • Neither party will make any Part 36 or Calderbank Offers during the pre-action stage to which the Guide applies, unless and until they have attempted to address the issue and those attempts are exhausted;
  • Facilities for medical examination by Defendants will not be "unreasonably" refused.

The Guide very much supports the "road map" approach to planning cases from an early stage and working with the Claimant's Solicitor to move them forward. Whether this process can work will of course depend upon the attitude of both parties and undoubtedly there may be attempts to side-step the intentions of the Guide. Even if this does occur, the agreement of these principles is hopefully a major step forward in establishing a collaborative approach to catastrophic injury claims.