Official Injury Claim Portal Guide - How to make an OIC Claim
Since the 31st of May 2021, claimants have been able to make low-value ‘road traffic accident’ injury claims through the new online Official Injury Claim Portal (OIC), created by the Ministry of Justice
The new portal was created as a result of the reforms of the Civil Liability Act 2018, which were set out to reduce the costs of minor Road Traffic Accident claims, and, consequently, slow down the rise of insurance premiums.
These new regulations define specific bands for compensation amounts for ‘general damages’ (essentially ‘PSLA’ - compensation damages for pain, suffering and loss of amenity). These bands act as fixed tariffs for RTA Injury Claims - commonly, whiplash claims, and other soft-tissue injury claims.
The new limit for small claims made through the OIC Portal is £5,000 for ‘general damages’ - with exceptions for vulnerable road users.
Vulnerable road users are classed as:
- pillion and sidecar passengers;
- horse riders;
- those using mobility scooters;
- those using wheelchairs, including powered wheelchairs.
Vulnerable road users will only have to make their claim through the OIC portal if the ‘general-damages’ part of their claim is valued up to £1,000 or under.
Can I make my RTA Claim through the Official Injury Claims Portal?
In order to submit your RTA Whiplash Claim through the OIC Portal, the following criteria must apply to your accident:
- The claimant suffered an injury while driving or being a passenger in a vehicle
- The claimant must be over 18 years old
- Another road user must be identified as the guilty party
- The accident took place in England or Wales
- The accident took place on or after the 31st of May 2021
You may not be eligible to make your claim through the OIC Portal if any of the following apply:
- The road user responsible for the injury was operating a vehicle with a foreign registration
- The accident was a hit-and-run
- The entity responsible for the accident and the injury is not another road user
- A breach of the Health and Safety at Work Act caused the accident and injury
How do I calculate my compensation claim amount?
Generally, the monetary value of a compensation claim can be divided into two categories:
- General Damages represent the compensation you receive which is directly related to your injuries. Legal professionals value General Damages from the Judicial College’s Guidelines, which you can refer to yourself.
- Special Damages include all financial damages that are a consequence of your injury, such as lost earnings, care and treatment costs, vehicle repair and substitution costs.
New guidelines dictate limits on the damages you can claim through the portal, but these are not applicable to all cases. The tariff awards on the OIC website indicate a limit of £4,345 on an injury with symptoms lasting 24 months, but this figure only applies to whiplash injuries. Injuries which do not fall within the whiplash category, or carry a prognosis longer than 2 years, may be valued differently.
Our expert solicitors can help you calculate a fair compensation amount for your injury, and support you through the claim process.
What do I need to start a claim through the OIC Portal?
You can begin the claim process yourself through the portal without additional legal support. Although some criticism has been levied against the portal’s ease of use, entering the initial required information should be straightforward.
Depending on the circumstances of your road traffic accident and injury, you may be required to supply the following information:
- Your National Insurance Number
- Information about the circumstances of the accident (time, date, location etc.)
- The Crime Reference Number related to the accident, if applicable
- Information related to the vehicle responsible for the accident, and its owner
- Information about the vehicle you were in at the time of the accident, and its owner
- Personal information of all passengers and any witnesses
- Any information and evidence related to the injuries and financial damages caused
The Official Injury Claims Portal Process
1. Enter Initial Information
While the Portal is built to allow unrepresented claimants to submit compensation claims, you may decide to employ the help of a solicitor to ensure the best possible outcome for your RTA claim.
Your initial information will be used to verify your identity, and should include your personal details - including your National Insurance Number - and the details of all other persons involved, such as the responsible party, other occupants and witnesses.
Information about the accident must include how, where, and when the accident happened. A Crime Reference Number should also be entered when applicable.
You should include the details of all vehicles involved, including registration, make, model and colour of the car you were in and the one identified as the guilty party. Be sure to note any damages to the vehicles, and whether you required assistance for repairs or a temporary substitute vehicle - with associated costs.
It is always important to attach as much evidence as possible, including notes and pictures. Time, date and modality of the accident are crucial elements of your claim’s information. Any additional supporting evidence will help your claim be valued fairly.
2. Compensator Investigation
The information you have provided will now be sent to the compensator. They will assess the evidence, and decide if they accept the claim or not, based on an assessment of your claim’s details.
More information may be requested, and you will be able to supply this through the portal - similarly to the initial collection of details and evidence. The compensator will have 30 business days to respond to your claim with an acceptance or rejection of it.
3. Supply Medical Evidence
Following the compensator’s assessment of your claim, your injuries will have to be examined by an accredited medical expert. The information contained in the medical report of your injuries will be the basis for the valuation of your general damages compensation.
You will be free to choose a medical professional to carry out your examination from a list of medical experts. Depending on your location and travel needs, you will be given options as to where the medical examination should take place.
The medical report will be available for you to review on the OIC Portal once it is ready. It is crucial that you carefully review the report, and promptly indicate any statements that you believe should be rectified.
If you have suffered particularly severe injuries, and the medical report supports this, you may ask for an “uplift” - a percentage increase to your proposed compensation amount.
Once you have approved the final medical report, you may choose to wait to assess the progress of your symptoms, or move forward to receive an offer from the compensator.
4. Receipt of Offer
The compensator will receive the information you have initially provided together with the medical report, and will assess them to decide if to make you a compensation claim offer, and its amount.
Your solicitor will advise you on the fairness of the offer if you have requested the support of one. Our expert Personal Injury Solicitors will be able to assess your injuries and the circumstances of the accident to conclude whether the offer you have received is reasonable, and contest it if necessary.
You will be able to accept or challenge the offer via the Official Injury Claims Portal. The compensator will assess the reasons for the challenge, and accept or refuse an increase in the amount. This is the point of the process where you will also be able to review the fees and costs associated with the usage of the Official Injury Claims Portal.
5. Finishing your Claim
If you accept an offer from the compensator, they will be notified and will need to pay you the agreed compensation amount within 10 business days. This will represent the end of your compensation claims process.
Should you not come to an agreement with the compensator regarding the compensation amount, you may decide to begin court proceedings. You will be notified if this is an option for your case, and the process will need to be completed outside of the OIC.
This will involve going to court, and starting a traditional Road Traffic Accident Injury Compensation Claim. You should urgently seek legal representation at this point in the process.
More information surrounding the five steps to making a road traffic injury claim through the OIC portal can be found here: 5 steps to using the Official Injury Claim Portal
Why choose us?
Established in 1997, we are a leading firm of specialist personal injury solicitors in Manchester. We have years of experience helping people to secure the maximum compensation values based on their injuries and losses resulting from Road traffic Accidents.
Our team of Road Accident Solicitors in Manchester, act regularly for clients across the North West of England including Bury, Bolton, Leeds, Liverpool, Preston and Warrington.
As a LEXCEL recognised personal injury law firm, we can support your needs wherever you live in Wales, England & Northern Ireland.
The Lexcel standard is only awarded by the Law Society to firms who meet the highest standards of practice management and customer service. With Sheldon Davidson Solicitors in Manchester, you can be confident that your claim is in safe hands.
Call us for free now using the number at the top of the page or complete the online contact form and a member of our team will get back to you.