RTA portal chairman cautious over PM’s plan to extend the scheme

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By Legal Futures

11 January 2012

Injury: will extended portal make special provision for more complicated cases?

The company that manages the road traffic accident claims portal has issued a cautious response to David Cameron’s announcement last week that he wants to extend the scheme.

Solicitor Tim Wallis, independent chairman of RTA Portal Co, said it was impossible to estimate how long the work would take until both the budget and the changes to the Civil Procedure Rules were known.

The portal has 2,700 users and currently deals with road traffic claims worth up to £10,000 processing more than 2,000 claims a day. It is t

o be extended to £25,000 and there appears to be strong political pressure to do this quickly.

Mr Wallis – who stressed he was not commenting on the policy issues – said this would be simple if just a case of increasing the upper limit without making any other changes. But he questioned whether there would need to be new processes devised for more complex claims at the top end of the new portal.

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He said both claimants and defendants were divided on this. If the portal was just used to start cases, which would exit the system as soon as they became difficult, then “the wins are marginal”, he warned.

When it came to developing portal processes for other types of personal injury – if RTA Portal Co is asked to do it – Mr Wallis said anything could be done with a big enough budget, but if the insurance industry pays, as with the existing portal, “there will be financial constraints”.

Mr Wallis stressed that RTA Portal Co was standing by to help when asked, pointing out that those involved have been on a steep learning curve since the portal went live in March 2010.

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