’In three to five years, dispute resolution will be the norm for settling these types of claims,’ says commercial director

The Supreme Court’s judgement on mixed injuries has provided more of an opportunity for cross-industry adoption of digital dispute resolution.

That was according to handl Group commercial director Chris Chatterton, who has called for the claims sector to give new impetus to the service following the decision handed down in the Rabot v Hassam and Briggs v Laditan cases.

In March 2024, the Supreme Court rejected an insurer lodged appeal on the two test cases, meaning that people with mixed injury claims can claim full common law compensation for their non-whiplash injuries at the same time as the statutory tariff payment for whiplash.

Chatterton told Insurance Times the judgment opened the way to cross-industry adoption of dispute resolution for people suffering whiplash, plus other injuries following a road traffic accident, as well as a straightforward whiplash.

His comments came as handl highlighted that it took an average of nine months for cases to get to a court hearing from filing papers.

The dispute resolution average from filing papers to a legally enforceable result, meanwhile, was nine days, according to the group.

Chatterton also revealed that data from his firm’s dispute resolution pilots, which was trialled with seven insurers and eight law firms, found that settling injury cases with its technology saved over £500 per case, compared to the courts.

“What all of us want is rapid access to justice for claimants,” Chatterton said.

“Dispute resolution, which is done online, can be completed in days not months and is far less expensive.”

New service

Chatterton also revealed handl’s motor claims business Coplus was talking to insurer clients about launching a new dispute resolution service that aims to settle claims in days.

“After many false dawns, I believe the claims industry is ready to embrace the digital age when it comes to settling disputed claims,” he said.

“MoJ ministers and the judiciary support dispute resolution as a partial solution to civil justice delays and the insurance industry should see it as a hedge against claims inflation after premiums have risen to historic highs.

“In three to five years, dispute resolution will be the norm for settling these types of claims and we’ll wonder why it took the industry so long to adopt it.”