ILC ARTICLE

New report exposes OIC failures


The Justice Committee has raised concerns about the number of unresolved cases still in the Official Injury Claim portal, and called on the Ministry of Justice and Motor Insurance Bureau to investigate the backlog.

In a new report, it has revealed that 349,000 cases are still unresolved, with just over a quarter of all claims entered into the system since it launched in May 2021 having so far reached settlement.

It has also found that cases took on average 251 days to be resolved, and warns this will rise as more complex cases are processed.

To date, 568,214 claims have been submitted with just 146,626 reaching settlement. Of these, 90% of claimants had legal representation, underlining the ‘complexity of the process for claimants attempting to navigate it by themselves and a lack of awareness of the new process.’

The Chair of the Justice Committee, Sir Bob Neill MP, said, “One of the objectives of the OIC portal was to simplify and speed up the process of making a claim for whiplash injuries. Whilst we acknowledge that the nature of the claims process is such that there will always be a stock of cases in the portal at different stages in the claims lifecycle, and that some will take longer to reach a resolution than others, we recommend the MoJ investigates further the reasons for the growing number of unresolved cases and the deterioration in the timeliness of reaching settlement, and publishes its findings by the end of the year.”

Meanwhile, Matthew Maxwell Scott, Executive Director of ACSO, which represents the interests of consumers in the civil justice system and made a submission to the inquiry, said: “This initial report from the committee is welcome and highlights a number of issues affecting consumers, including delays, the small proportion of genuine litigants in person, technical challenges and low public awareness.

“Overall, it has been an inauspicious start to life for the OIC, and while great efforts have been made to make it fit for purpose, the backlogs the committee draws attention to are of considerable concern. Many of these are the result of the challenges in valuing so-called ‘mixed-injury cases’ where there is a whiplash injury as well as other injuries.

“Some of the problems highlighted reflect broader issues within civil justice, with court delays at historic highs and civil administration struggling to get on top of the situation. It also shows that the introduction of new portals and other radical changes needs to be considered more carefully in future, with greater cross-industry involvement than was the case with the OIC.”

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