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Agreement to ease settlement of personal injury claims set to continue

Special arrangements introduced to encourage greater cooperation between claimants and defendant insurance companies in personal injury claims should continue to positively impact claims for some time. The more collaborative approach was intended to respond to challenges presented by coronavirus to help cases run as smoothly and quickly as possible while most practitioners were working at home.

The best practice document, agreed between APIL (the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers) and FOIL (Forum of Insurance Lawyers) in England and Wales included a set of standard practices to guide claimants and defendants during the crisis that encouraged, among other criteria, accepting service and evidence via email, video conferencing for medical examinations and stressed the importance of efficient communication between parties.

Jill Greenfield, head of serious injury, helped to shape the agreement in her role as Treasurer of APIL said that the temporary measures were conceived to resolve claims and, in the case of dispute, would hopefully reduce pressure on the courts as the inevitable backlog during the pandemic risked depriving injured people from receiving urgent treatment while their claim was ongoing.

Jill said it was a hugely positive and respectful move to ensure people who have been badly injured received vital treatment and rehabilitation quickly and were not forced to suffer the effects of their injuries for longer because of the virus. The best practice documents are still in place and will be reviewed regularly.

"I have definitely found that insurance companies involved as defendants in several of my claims have behaved decently and facilitated providing funds to pay for specialist care to get people on their road to recovery," Jill said.

"This is the right thing to do in these exceptional circumstances in which we're all trying to pull together to achieve the best outcome."

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