personal injury pre action protocol

Personal Injury Pre Action Protocol: How to claim for work accident, disease and public liability low value claims

In this article we explain what the personal injury pre-action protocol is; the types of claim it applies to; how the law classifies low value compensation values; the concept of reasonable valuation; what happens if your solicitor’s valuation changes; important dates to look out for; its limited application to industrial disease claims; the countries of the UK that it is relevant too and types of claim that are exceptions to using the pre-action protocol procedure.

What is the personal injury pre-action protocol for low value claims?

The pre-action protocol is a set of procedures that your solicitor should follow when making your personal injury claim when it is considered to be of a low value.

The full name of the protocol is the Pre-Action Protocol for Low Value Personal Injury (Employers’ Liability and Public Liability) Claims.

As the name suggests – it not only applies to work injury claims, but also public liability claims (such as shop accidents. pavement trips, etc.).

The procedure is pre-action. In other words – prior to issuing proceedings at court.

The idea of the personal injury pre-action protocol is to attempt to resolve a personal injury claim in a structured manner without the need to go to court. This allows claims to be resolved quicker and the parties to limit legal costs by, in the main, avoiding court action.

Even if a resolution is not possible and your personal injury claim has to go to court – by following the pre-action protocol the parties will have taken the necessary steps to establish if there is true merit in the claim and the strength of a possible defence.

How much compensation is classed as a low value claim?

For both work injury and public liability – low value claims are considered to have a value between £1,000 and £25,000 on a full liability basis.

Some personal injury claims include financial losses (known as special damages – such as lost income, medical expenses, etc.) as well as a claim for pain and suffering (general damages).  The valuation should include both of these types of loss.

The valuation should be on a full liability basis. In other words – if the person at fault was 100% at fault – how much would the claim be worth? This is important when there may be an argument of contributory negligence – a percentage reduction in the claim for the carelessness of the Claimant. Thew value of the claim should be considered before any reductions.

Watch out – other types of accident claims, such as road accidents, have a different classification of low value depending on the type of road user. Most road accident claims must have a value between £5,000 and £25,000 to be considered low value – see our article road accident small claims for exceptions to the lower limit of £5,000.

personal injury compensation valuation

Personal Injury Compensation Valuation

What is reasonable valuation and what happens if the valuation of your claim changes?

There should be a reasonable valuation of a claim by your solicitor based on evidence – not just a figure plucked from the air.

If however more evidence comes to light to suggest a higher (more than £25,000) or lower value claim (less than £1,000) – this could cause the pre-action protocol to no longer apply and your claim to drop out of the pre-action protocol process.

Are there any important dates to look out for that allow the Personal Injury Pre-Action Protocol to apply?

“Yes” – the accident should have occurred on or after 31 July 2013.

As industrial disease claims can be from exposure many years ago – for the pre-action protocol to apply, no letter of claim should have been sent to the Defendant before 31 July 2013.

Does the Personal injury protocol apply to industrial disease claims?

“Yes” – so long as the criteria in earlier paragraphs apply, industrial disease claims are covered by the low value personal injury pre-action protocol.

Watch out – there are exceptions when the protocol will not apply to industrial disease.

  1. If there is more than one employer. This is very common in industrial disease claims that may be based on time of exposure in various different past employments. Each employer being a defendant for contributing a time period to the exposure and thus a percentage to the loss. Examples includeindustrial deafness claims or coal miners black lung.
  2. Certain specified conditions – if the industrial disease claim is for mesothelioma caused by exposure to asbestos fibres.
  3. If the defendant is insolvent and there is no identifiable insurer – it is very common for industrial disease claims that previous employers from many years earlier are no longer in business. The respective employer liability insurers can generally be traced, but sometimes that is not possible.

Which countries that make up the UK does the personal injury pre-action protocol apply?

The pre-action protocol for low value personal injury only applies to accidents in England and Wales. Anything occurring in Scotland or Northern Ireland are subject to different rules as they are considered a different legal jurisdiction.

Any other exceptions to low value personal injury claims being governed by the pre-action protocol?

“Yes” – there are a number of other exceptions as listed in sections 4.3 of the protocol itself.

Notably – claims that include injury in a road accident (road accidents have their own pre-action protocol for claims that include clinical negligence are not included in the pre-action protocol.

Specialist Personal Injury Solicitor Free Help And Assistance

We have set the types of personal injury claim that the pre-action protocol might apply to. Should you be considering a claim or have just had an accident and wish to discuss your options – take a look at our personal injury solicitor free online and telephone assistance options.