One of the largest claims management companies has been given the green light to form its own personal injury firm. National Accident Law will provide customers of the listed NAHL Group with a digital platform to manage the whole of a personal injury claim.

The Solicitors Regulation Authority today announced it had granted approval to set up the alternative business structure, which will start trading in April.

The group has restructured its PI operation, creating two business units: one is the existing National Accident Helpline while the second incorporates the new firm and two joint venture ABS businesses established in 2017.

Tom fitzgerald

Tom Fitzgerald

Fitzgerald said panel firms remain 'key to the strategy'

Adam Nabozny will move from his current role as partnerships director to become managing director of legal services, while Tom Fitzgerald will move from his position as finance director to succeed Simon Trott as managing director of National Accident Helpline. Chris Higham will become the PI division’s chief financial officer.

The group issued a profit warning to the London Stock Exchange earlier this month after reporting that certain panel firms had pulled out of the market, discouraged by the impending reforms in the Civil Liability Act.

Creating a standalone law firm might seem counter-intuitive to a company which provides work for other firms, but Fitzgerald said the panel remains ‘key to our strategy’, adding: ‘We will be working closely with new and existing firms to continue building new and collaborative ways of working together.’

National Accident Law says it will provide a bespoke online platform for case management and has committed to cutting out ‘unnecessary paperwork’ for customers.

Trott, the new chief executive of NAHL’s personal injury division said: ‘We are well positioned to take full advantage of the changes within the PI sector. We have the distribution, infrastructure, people and technology which is needed to be the market leader.’

Companies looking to remain in the personal injury market face major upheaval from April 2020 when legislation significantly reduces damages for whiplash claims to a fixed level. At the same time, claimants with RTA claims under £5,000 will not be able to recover legal costs from the defending party – effectively taking lawyers out of the process in favour of an online portal set up to decide on claims.