Supreme Court ruling results in numerous discontinuances of claims stayed whilst decision waited
The decision of the Supreme Court in Cameron was positively received by insurers, as it confirmed that claimants cannot bring proceedings against an unnamed driver.
This judgment has been long anticipated, and had wide ranging ramifications for both claimants and insurers. Many claims were brought on the back of the Court of Appeal decision to allow claims to proceed against unnamed drivers.
Large amounts of these claims were stayed by agreement pending the Supreme Court appeal. We have seen that the final judgment has now prompted a flurry of discontinuances now it is clear that these claims have no prospects of success and are no longer viable.
Interestingly, we have seen no efforts by claimant representatives to attempt any form of settlement agreements on these claims before concluding, simply accepting the decision and closing the files without further costs being incurred.
We have also seen at least one instance where judgment was been granted against our insurer client, but enforcement was stayed by the Court pending the Supreme Court judgment. The Claimant and their representatives subsequently confirmed that they intended on redirecting the claim to the Motor Insurers Bureau.
As stated within the Cameron judgment, claimants will now be required to pursue their claim via the standard route of the UTDA. This route was specifically identified as "quicker and cheaper" for claimants.
What can we learn?
- Insurers would be well advised to consider any claims on their system which may have been held on their system pending the decision in Cameron. If claims are identified – claims which would no longer be viable following the decision – then we would advocate issuing appropriate correspondence to claimants solicitors requesting confirmation that the claim.
- There will be few decisions with such wide-ranging impact in the motor accident sphere than Cameron. Claimant representatives will find themselves under increasing pressures due to the whiplash reforms program including the introduction of a tariff system. The loss of the particular claims cohort potentially available had the Court of Appeal decision been upheld will only add to those pressures.