By Legal Futures Associate ARAG
What interesting times we live in with the relentless pace of change in personal injury and clinical negligence claims.
The Civil Procedure Rule Committee has announced that certain critical amendments to the QOCS rules come into force for all PI/CN claims issued from 6 April 2023.
QOCS was intended to protect claimants from having to insure against adverse costs, except in certain limited circumstances. Claimants received this protection when they lost the right to claim success fees and insurance premiums from the negligent Defendant/s who had caused their injury and loss.
This was the “quid pro quo” compromise.
The changes to the Rules will now allow Defendants to enforce costs up to a level of any order for, or agreement to pay, or settle a claim for, damages, costs and interest made in favour of the claimant.
Result – This will leave successful claimants at greater risk in relation to the costs consequences of Part 36 offers.
Furthermore, Defendant costs will now be allowed to be offset against the Claimant’s costs, leaving the Claimant at risk of having to cover a shortfall where the amount they recover in costs is no longer enough to cover their solicitor’s fees. These risks continue to be covered by ARAG ATE policies, we will be keeping a close eye on defendant behaviour but in the meantime clients can rest assured that they have the cover required to protect them from these additional risks.
This change will make it harder for innocent victims, injured by another’s negligence, to claim the compensation they would be entitled to.
ARAG Plc will continue to provide legal expenses insurance to protect innocent victims injured through another’s negligence and maintain access to justice for all.