The new fixed costs regime was brought in over 3 years ago, the new regime captured claims with values up to £25,000.00 and claims which had been litigated; such claims would not have been subject to the ‘old’ predictive costs II ROAD TRAFFIC ACCIDENTS – FIXED RECOVERABLE COSTS which runs from CPR 45.9 to CPR 45.15.
The ‘new’ regime is split into two sections, Section III THE PRE-ACTION PROTOCOLS FOR LOW VALUE PERSONAL INJURY CLAIMS IN ROAD TRAFFIC ACCIDENTS AND LOW VALUE PERSONAL INJURY (EMPLOYERS’ LIABILITY AND PUBLIC LIABILITY) CLAIMS which runs from CPR 45.16 to CPR 45.29 and SECTION IIIA CLAIMS WHICH NO LONGER CONTINUE UNDER THE RTA OR EL/PL PRE-ACTION PROTOCOLS – FIXED RECOVERABLE COSTS which runs from CPR 45.29A to CPR 45.29L.
It is usually easy to distinguish which section will be applicable. Generally speaking Section III applies to claims which have started on the RTA Portal and have settled on the Portal; whereas Section IIIA applies to claims which have started on the RTA Portal and have fallen off the Portal. Section IIIA applies to claims which settle at any point up to and including Trial unless the case has been allocated to the Multi Track as per CPR 45.29B (when standard hourly rates costs will apply).
There are some exceptions when your claims will not be subject to the Pre-Action Protocol for Low Value Personal Injury Claims in Road Traffic Accidents from 31 July 2013, a list is provided within the Pre Action Protocol
- “in respect of a breach of duty owed to a road user by a person who is not a road user;
- Made to the MIB pursuant to the Untraced Drivers’ Agreement 2003 or any subsequent or supplementary Untraced Drivers’ Agreements;
- Where the claimant or defendant acts as personal representative of a deceased person;
- Where the claimant or defendant is a protected party as defined in rule 21.1(2);
- Where the claimant is bankrupt; or
- Where the defendant’s vehicle is registered outside the United Kingdom. “
Therefore if you have any claims which falls under the arms of the above list, they should not be submitted on the portal and as such you would not be limited to fixed costs or portal costs; instead you would be entitled to standard ‘hourly rates’ costs.
Of course the upper limit of the RTA Portal is £25,000.00 as with the EL/PL Portal, however should a claim be put on the Portal and settle for in excess of the limit fixed costs would be awarded unless the matter gets allocated to the Multi Track, as mentioned above.
Therefore it is very important to value the matter at the outset, do not simply place the claim on the Portal.
“It is very important to value the matter at the outset, do not simply place the claim on the Portal.”
If you find yourself with a new instruction where the Claimant has sustained a significant injury or you have a reasonable belief that the matter may be high value, we would advise as far as possible that quantum is considered in depth. This is important because, if you choose not to put the claim on the Portal (thus avoiding fixed costs) and the claim later settles for less than £25,000.00 the Defendant will argue that you should be limited to Fixed Costs anyway. If you can evidence that you carefully considered quantum before sending the Letter of Claim you will be able to evidence that you had reasonable belief that the claim was valued at more than £25,000.00; as such you will have complied with the Pre Action Protocol and have maximised your potential cost recovery.
In relation to the ‘old’ regime of fixed costs in Road Traffic Accident, it is much simpler when compared to the ‘new’ regime discussed above. If the Claim Notification Form is sent before 31st July 2013 and the matter settles on the Portal you will understandably be awarded Portal costs, however if the matter leaves the Portal but later settles without proceedings being issued for less than £10,000.00 then, in most cases the matter will be subject to the ‘old’ fixed costs. As soon as Part 7 proceedings are issued you escape the fixed costs of £800.00 plus 20% of the damages, on the condition that proceedings have not been issued prematurely.
If the Claim Notification Form was sent before 31st July 2013 there can be two possible levels of Portal costs, this again is dependent upon the date of the Claim Notification Form. If the Claim Notification Form was sent before 1st April 2013 the higher Portal costs will apply, any Claim Notification Forms sent on or after 1st April 2013 will attract the lower Portal costs.
Of course, this guide is only a very brief guide as to Fixed Costs on Road Traffic Accidents, if you have any cases which you are still unsure on then please do not hesitate to contact us and one of our experts shall be in touch, ready and willing to help.