Slater & Gordon in Melbourne is a personal injury plaintiff law firm alterfalter
Using the little-utilised Section 57 of the Criminal Justice Act, Clyde & Co has launched a new process to ensure exaggerated personal injury claims are dismissed before coming to trial. The firm has now successfully used the process to have 18 cases dismissed or discontinued in the past twelve months, generating savings of £2.2m, excluding recoveries from dishonest claimants which totaled a further £80,000. The time taken to manage these litigated large loss cases was reduced to 12 months.
Exaggeration and accuracy
Under Section 57 of the Criminal Justice Act, where dishonest exaggeration is proved, the claimant can lose not only the exaggerated elements of the claim but also the genuine elements and any entitlement to costs. The claimant is also required to pay the defendant’s costs. The statute was specifically enacted to deal with claimants that exaggerate injuries and ensure that claims are brought accurately. Clyde & Co say they have had very good buy in from one of their key clients and is now looking forward to rolling this out to the rest of the industry.
The key aims of Clyde & Co’s project are to use specially developed tools to bring forward a ‘paper trial’ to enable adjudication before the actual trial window even opens, reduce cycle time by interrupting the litigation timetable, enable partner insurers to identify target claims promptly, and, ensure fraudulent PI claims are dismissed or struck out in their entirety. Commenting on the project, lead partner Damian Rourke said ‘Exaggerated casualty claims threaten the efficient running of a sustainable insurance market. Our goal is to help insurers force claims to be pleaded accurately and thereby reduce leakage, which drives up costs for insurers, and ultimately insureds.’