What you need to know about the Official Injury Claim website

Whiplash-reforms

What is OIC?

The Official Injury Claim (OIC) service that launched this Bank Holiday Monday (May 31st) that enables the fundamental changes in personal injury litigation pushed through in the Civil Liability Act 2018.

The online service has been developed to compel people injured in road traffic accidents to make claims for their injuries of up to £5,000 (or a total of £10,000 including other losses) without legal help. The service is independent, but what that means for the injured motorists who will be trying to pursue claims against well-resourced insurers without legal assistance, remains to be seen.

What is changing?

The Civil Liability Act included a series of measures dubbed the “Whiplash reforms” which increase the upper threshold for low value injury claims to £5,000. As people who have such injuries would now have to pay for any legal help themselves, the Ministry of Justice has worked with the Motor Insurer’s Bureau to launch a website, run by the MIB, that enables them to make such claims directly.

Alongside a ban on insurers making offers to settle claims without seeing proper medical evidence and a legal definition of “whiplash”, the legislation provides fixed tariffs for such injuries depending on how long they last.

There are exceptions for children and various types of vulnerable road user, such as pedestrians and cyclists, but most RTA claims should be made through the website from Monday.

How easy will it be for injured people to make a claim?

Once a claimant has found the portal, they will have to navigate the claims process, from valuing their claim to accepting or rejecting offers, alone (unless they have the benefit of a motor legal protection policy).

While the OIC website aims to make this as straightforward as possible, there were good reasons that most claimants have needed legal assistance to bring a claim. The Guide to Making a Claim now available on the OIC website runs to 64 pages of guidance to help injured parties through what is still quite a complex process.

Things to watch

Inevitably, there will be a fair bit of uncertainty among injured motor policyholders, especially while the service finds its feet. Over the initial weeks, plenty of accidents will obviously be reported that occurred before May 31st that will not be subject to the new rules and process.

There is also some concern around the system’s reliance on the Motor Insurance Database. If records are not up-to-date then claims could obviously be directed to the wrong insurer, which will inevitably create delays and headaches.

What does this mean for legal expenses insurance?

The change in legislation and the onus it puts on injured, potentially vulnerable people to make a claim against a third-party insurer, makes having motor legal protection even more valuable.

ARAG motor legal solutions policyholders will have access to all the help they need to evaluate whether or not they have a valid claim, assess its value, guide them through the portal and negotiate with the insurer, if necessary. Importantly, our policyholders will also receive 100% of any compensation to which they may be entitled.

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About ARAG

ARAG UK is a specialist legal insurance provider and is part of the internationally recognised ARAG Group which serves 14 countries worldwide.

Providing several emergency assistance insurance products and an innovative range of Before-the-Event and After-the-Event legal insurance products and services, ARAG UK prides itself on its client-focused approach. This has been recognised by the industry following the results of the Insurance 360 Legal Expenses Insurers Study in which ARAG UK was voted 'best legal insurance provider'. youTalk-insurance sharing ARAG UK insurance news. 

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