Cardiff firm NewLaw has confirmed it will join the band of firms selling legal services through the new RTA claims portal, despite the apparent paucity of returns per case.

The firm said it has completed core testing of its own online personal injury portal named ‘Pilot’, putting it at the ‘forefront’ of firms ready to provide advice immediately after the whiplash reforms come into force on 31 May.

Legal expenses for RTA claims will no longer be recoverable for any cases valued at less than £5,000, with the Ministry of Justice working alongside the Motor Insurers Bureau to develop a process for use by unrepresented litigants.

NewLaw says it has worked closely alongside the MIB’s project team to provide clients with a simple way to pursue claims through the firm. The Pilot system is fully integrated with the Official Injury Claim Portal but means that clients will not be left to deal with defendant insurers by themselves.

Managing director Tim Lock said: ‘Our aim from the outset has been to provide an innovative solution for clients to obtain high quality legal redress for personal injuries following the reforms. Feedback from existing and potential business partners has been great, which is extremely encouraging, knowing that when the reforms go live, we will be ready.’

Tim Lock, NewLaw MD

Tim Lock, NewLaw MD

The level of reductions from damages for claims not funded by legal expenses insurance is still under review, but the rate is likely to be consistent regardless of injury severity. NewLaw says solicitors will be involved throughout the life of a claim, with clients able to access advice and support through live chat, text and calls. The system provides regular prompts for the client to deal with their claim as key milestones occur.

Last month the Ministry of Justice confirmed the start date and likely tariffs for whiplash damages, depending on how long the injury persists. The levels are much lower than for current claims, prompting many firms to consider whether RTA claims will be viable in the future.

Meanwhile, MedCo, the organisation responsible for handling all whiplash diagnosis, said that any direct medical experts or medical reporting organisations wanting to work through the new portal will have to opt in to handle unrepresented claimants. The process for applications will begin on 17 March.

All expert types are able to consider opting-in to provide services for whiplash injury claims to unrepresented claimants. However, under the MoJ rules, only GP and A&E experts will be able to provide a service to unrepresented claimants for non-whiplash injury claims or mixed injury claims involving both whiplash and non-whiplash injuries.