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Serious Injury Guide: Narrowing the issues in claims

15 May 2020
The DWF Virtual CAT PI and Occupational Health Insurance Conference hosted on 18 to 21 May 2020 is fast approaching. Speaker Michelle Knapp outlines her talk on day two which will focus on the Serious Injury Guide.

The DWF Virtual CAT PI and Occupational Health Insurance Conference being hosted on 18 to 21 May 2020 is fast approaching and if you have not already registered your interest it is not too late to sign up

During day two of the conference (19 May) I will be talking about the Serious Injury Guide. This of course came into effect from 12 October 2015 and was the product of years of collaborative work between APIL, FOIL and a number of major insurers.

The code was developed with a view to parties working together and narrowing the issues in serious injury claims - attempting dispute resolution as early as practicable. This less prescriptive approach with a view to tackling the adversarial litigation system and with a focus on collaborative working, is key to modern day case handling. However, it is important to remember that this is a guide and not a protocol, and in order for this to work, there must be a genuine willingness on the part of both parties to engage, and for there to be an environment of mutual trust, transparency and collaboration. 

In my practice area, which largely comprises brain injuries, spinal cord injuries and amputee claims, I have found that whilst the parties will not always agree on all of the issues in the case, particularly if for example liability is a live issue, the Serious Injury Guide can really help narrow the issues and pragmatically progress a claim. I have found that regular "route map" or "pathfinder" meetings are invaluable, and often my opposing number and I will agree to work to an informal timetable providing for early and regular disclosure, and early service of witness statements and expert evidence prior to litigation, working to an end point whether that be ADR or a JSM. However, common pitfalls include the parties using the guide as a tactical weapon and not genuinely engaging in the process, which then leads to the breakdown of trust. Not only is this detrimental to the particular case you are working on, but will impact future working relationships on other claims you might have. 

In my view, collaboration is not a sign of weakness but a sign of confidence, and when this works, in my experience, cases generally tend to be resolved at an earlier stage and in a cost appropriate and proportionate manner. The additional benefits of course for insurers engaging in the process, include prompt reserve management and the ability to influence rehabilitation and life cycles in these complex cases.

During my conference session I will take you through a whistle stop tour discussing:

  • The Serious Injury Guide - what is it?
  • Principal Aims
  •  Key Steps
  • Achieving the Objectives
  • Key to Success

 I hope that you can join me at what is sure to be a great conference. Sign up today > 



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