Are you confused regarding the personal injury pre-action protocol? If so, you will be glad to know you have landed at the right spot.
Well, it is normal to have such doubts in mind. After all, we all are not well-versed with all the legal terms. These protocols are basically made for speeding up personal injury claims.
So justice is served, and the claimants get medical treatment as quickly as possible, along with making sure that both parties get an equal chance to arrive at a mutual settlement.
Besides, we all should have proper knowledge of how things tend to work before directly going ahead with any formal legal work.
Want to know in detail? Let’s begin:
Table of Contents
Aims of The Personal injury Pre Action Protocol
The main aim of the personal injury pre-action protocol is to set a certain standard or process for handling the moderate value cases before any court proceedings are issued.
In short, the protocols were made to make sure that both the parties know what things they need to, when, and how to get hassle-free and rapid actions.
Besides, not complying with these rules and regulations without any valid grounds will ultimately result in breaking the laws. And thus, the court will have the full liability to penalize them.
Didn’t get the point? Well, then have a look at the below aims of the pre-action protocol:
- Both parties must provide enough valid information and facts related to the claims
- Make sure that meaningful communication occurs between both parties
- To make sure that all the case related investigations are carried out properly for further processing
- Supporting the medical treatment and other rehabilitation facilities for the claimant as soon as possible
- To give an opportunity to both the parties to do the negotiation and to arrive at a final settlement
- Will save both time and money along with reducing the stress to take several rounds of the court for the claims
What Are The Steps In Pre Action Protocols for Personal Injury Claims?
Everything has an appropriate organized system of working. Similarly, pre-action protocols come with a proper series of steps with whose successful completion, you can go ahead with the further processing of the claims.
Therefore, it is more than necessary that you have an in-depth knowledge of all the steps. After all, having proper knowledge before always has the upper hand and obviously makes the entire thing much easier.
Here are the following important steps that one must follow in the pre-action protocols for personal injury claims:
1. Letter of Notification
It is the claimant’s initial letter that is sent to the fault party and or the insurer for notifying that a claim is made against them.
After sending this letter of notification, the defendant must acknowledge and take action based on the notification letter that too within a strict time frame of 14 days, counting from the receive date.
It is one of the most crucial things that need immediate attention. After all, it is the right of every claimant to get treated first. So if the claimant needs any kind of medical treatment, they should get all kinds of medical assistance within time.
So, if immediate actions were taken at that time to avoid future serious complications, then certainly this ground can be used for paying less in the damages by the fault party.
3. Letter of Claim
When the applicant gets in a good position to send the claim letter, then only they will only be sent 2 copies of the letter of claim, asking for the following information:
- Full name of the applicant
- Address of the applicant
- Workplace and working hours of the applicant
- Employers full name and address of the applicant
- Detail information of the kind of accident, such as whether it is a road traffic accident, workplace injury, slip or fall accident, etc.
- The exact date, location, and time of the accident
- Brief info of how the accident took place
- What is the main reason behind thinking that the accident took place due to the defendant’s fault? For instance, the defendant took the wrong lane, faulty machine, defective roadway, etc.)
- A detailed outline of the wounds that are not listed on the claim
- Hospital name where the applicant took the full medical treatment
- If the applicant needs long term medical care and is still under the care, then will request the culprit to provide medical treatment and other needed expenses
- if the claimant lose their present and future earnings, then a detailed loss list will be requested to the claimant to be sent to the defendant to take care of these losses
- Any other detail losses list
- It will be suggested to send a letter to the suspect’s insurer
*Note: It is a general list and thus can vary from one state to state, depending on their rules and regulations.
4. Insurer’s Response
Generally, an insurer gets a time period of 21 days to acknowledge the claim letter receipt. And thus must give a preliminary response within the 3 months.
If it is denied, then valid grounds must be given, along with strong evidence related to the issue. While if there is no response to the claim letter, then the applicant will be automatically entitled to begin the court proceedings.
5. Documents Disclosure
Here, at this phase, the applicant will be expected to disclose (given to the court and the fault party) all the kinds of documents, along with enclosing the claim letter.
It should be limited to only documents relating to special damages, such as car repair invoices, proof of wages loss, replacing items receipts, etc.
6. Experts Reports
By expert report, it is meant the medical report which should be conducted thoroughly under expert supervision only. In other words, the applicant should give detailed information consisting of all the injuries, test reports, etc.
7. Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR)
The whole point of doing the protocol is to avoid the litigation process and save various other legal expenses. Both parties will be asked to come to a mutual thing through negations at this phase. If needed, they should do and try all kinds of mediation and settlement.
If any parties don’t agree on doing this thing without showing any valid grounds, then the court will reserve all the rights to penalize them, referring to their acts as unreasonable.
It is the last step, and if the matter is not settled yet after going through the protocol process. Next will come to the stocktake. Here, then in this step, both the parties will have to take stock of their current position, strengths, and lackings from their respective positions.
The final saying of the protocol is that before issuing any court proceedings, the applicant must invite the default parties insurance company to ask their lawyer to represent things on their behalf.
This invitation must be given to the insurers at least 7 to 14 days before the applicant pans on issuing the legal works and proceedings.
What Will Happen If One Party doesn’t Comply With The Pre-action Protocol?
If one party doesn’t comply with the pre-action protocol, then they have to pay the fine for the losses that are incurred.
After all, one of the main aims of the pre-action protocol is to minimize the costs, and if, due to the decisions of one party, that rule is broken, then certainly the court will take action and take the exact amount from them. And, the court doesn’t support any unnecessary costs and is strictly against them.
Besides, the more complicated the non-compliance will be, the greater the penalties amount will become.
That’s why every party should properly maintain and abide by all the protocols as established. Otherwise, get ready to be fined based on your activity.
We are at the end and hope that after going through the entire article, you now have developed an overall idea about the personal injury pre-action protocol.
Well, these protocols are created with the aim to save both time and huge expenses that come with every personal injury claim. After all, whether minor or major, every claim tends to come with tons of legal works and proceedings that everyone has to do for further processing of the case.
Besides, these protocols are extremely useful in reducing the stress one tends to face while taking several court rounds. If you are still having any issues, you can always take help from an experienced personal injury lawyer to get the proper help.
Frequently Asked Question: Personal Injury Pre-action Protocol
People tend to have a lot of queries regarding the pre-action protocols. Well, it’s quite normal to have such confusion in mind. That’s why, to ease the situation, we have kept a particular personal injury FAQ section for answering the most asked questions.
So, check out the below queries and solve all the doubts revolving in your mind:
What Is Meant By Pre-action Protocol?
Pre-action protocols are basically the explanation of the conduct and the steps which the court usually expects both parties to take before going ahead with the legal proceedings.
At first, they are approved by the master of the rolls. After then, they are annexed to the civil procedure rules.
Are Pre-action Protocols Important?
Of course, pre-action protocols are important as due to these protocols, the entire proceedings get speed up. Besides, they initiate the early exchange of all the crucial information between both parties along with promoting the early aid of all the medical supports and treatment the claimant needs.
And the more quickly these things get resolved, the lesser hassle you will face while dealing with everything. In fact, several legal proceedings and court rounds can be avoided.
How Long does The Pre-action Protocol Take?
Frankly speaking, there is no precise estimation, and it usually varies from case to case based on the situation and severity of the case.
However, to give you a general idea, it can take around 14 days or more. So, be prepared for every situation as the timeline can be more, depending on the complexity of your case.
Are There Any Time Limitations Within Which One Should Respond To A Pre-action Protocol?
Yes, there is. And if you are sent a letter of claim, then you must definitely respond to it within 28 days at maximum. However, for any valid reasons, you can extend the time period.
How do You Respond To A Pre-action Protocol?
Your response should contain only the main information which is required. For instance, the conditions you agree on claims accepted, which are denied, along with the reason for the rejection.