UK: Whiplash And Small Claims Reform: Medical Report Consultation Concluded

Last Updated: 10 September 2019
Article by Mark Hemsted

Government issues response on future of small claims medical reporting in RTA related claims

The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) has issued its response to the consultation into "Future Provision of Medical Reports in Road Traffic Accident related personal injury claims".

In a welcome clarification, the Government will extend the MedCo system to cover all injury claims related to road traffic accidents under £5,000, with the existing fixed recoverable costs regime applying to those initial reports for non-soft tissue injury too.

The outcome provides continued encouragement that the intended implementation date of April 2020 for the whiplash reforms, including the new portal system, remains in place.

Summary

The consultation relates to the whiplash reform programme introduced by the Civil Liability Act and expected secondary legislation increasing the small claims track limit for road traffic accidents to £5,000. After seeking the opinions of medical experts, medical reporting organisations (MROs), legal representatives and insurers, the Government has concluded that:

  • The existing MedCo system for obtaining reports for soft-tissue injury claims will be extended to cover initial medical reports for all RTA related personal injury claims under £5,000
  • Initial medical reports for non-soft tissue personal injury claims can be provided by General Practitioners and Accident and Emergency (A&E) consultants only
  • The existing fixed recoverable costs regime for soft-tissue injury medical reports will apply to all initial RTA related non-soft tissue injury medical reports for claims under £5,000
  • To protect unrepresented claimants, new qualifying criteria and standard service level agreements will be developed for medical reporting organisations (MROs) and experts

Expansion of MedCo

The Government has elected to widen MedCo's remit so that all initial medical reports for RTA-related PI claims in the small claims track are dealt with using that system. This extension received 74% support amongst those who responded to the proposal.

The extension of MedCo was identified as providing consistency with the existing system and also more user-friendly then alternatives, given expected increases in the number of unrepresented claimants.

Claimant representatives suggested that additional funding should be made available to ensure that medical reports for unrepresented claimants are always free of charge. As we have noted previously, the position of possible fee remissions remains unclear, and has not been addressed in greater detail in the response.

Reports for non-tissue injury claims under £5,000

It has been clarified that medical reports obtained for non-tissue injury claims (whether or not accompanied by a soft tissue injury) will be provided by GPs and A&E consultants only.

Responses in the consultation noted "their experience and training made them more suitable to provide these reports."

Broadening the types of medical experts registered on MedCo

Presently, doctors, consultants and surgeons registered with the General Medical Council and physiotherapists registered with the Health and Care Professions Council can be accredited by MedCo to provide medical reports for soft tissue injury claims.

The consultation sought clarification on whether other types of specialists, such as dentists, ear, nose and throat specialists and psychologists should be accredited by MedCo to provide medical reports for road traffic injuries, in light of the proposed inclusion of non-tissue injuries.

In response, the Government has made clear that it will not be adding additional specialists to the MedCo process for the purposes of providing initial medical reports. The identification of the need for such a report was likely to be "difficult for unrepresented claimants", and that the recruitment and accreditation of such specialists in any event would be time-consuming, and not cost-effective.

However, the Government did note that it "may be worthwhile adding such specialists to MedCo for the purposes of sourcing additional recommended reports." This will be considered with the MedCo board and stakeholders at a later date.

A significant number of respondents (87%) also made clear their objection to an extension of the types of experts allowed to provide medical reports for soft tissues injury claims, to include chiropractors and osteopaths. Common objections noted their classification as complementary therapy providers, and that their experience was not at "sufficient a level to support their addition" nor would "the market support their inclusion"

Fixed costs medical reports

The Government has decided it is appropriate for the fixed recoverable costs regime to be extended to RTA related non-soft tissue injury claims within the increased small claims track.

The current level of £180 plus VAT will be applied, providing "certainty to both claimants and to those providing reports".

This conclusion was reached despite objections from insurers and defendant representatives that the amount should be lowered, particularly for those claims which will fall within the whiplash tariff; objections from claimant representatives also argued that non-soft tissue injuries were more complex, and thus the cost should be higher.

This fee cap will be reviewed following the full implementation of the whiplash reform programme in April 2020.

In addition, having not agreed that further specialists can complete initial medical reports, the Government determined that there should be no extension of the fixed recoverable costs regime beyond those currently set for additional reports provided by Orthopaedic Surgeons and A&E Consultants.

Once again, this situation will be kept under review when the reforms have been fully introduced.

Options for obtaining medical reports for unrepresented claimants

The initial consultation proposed retaining "the current MedCo model of providing a randomised list of medical report providers, but with proportionate and necessary changes to meet the specific requirements of unrepresented claimants".

The Government has confirmed that this retention may require changes to the qualifying criteria for MedCo to enable the proper service of the needs of unrepresented claimants. The details will be published prior to April 2020 to allow stakeholders to determine whether or not they wish to opt-in to the service for unrepresented claimants.

The responses from MROs and directly instructed experts (DMEs) suggest that there will be "sufficient operational capacity to support the assumed volume of unrepresented claimants". There was also heavy support for the introduction of standardised service level agreements for MROs and DMEs dealing with unrepresented claimants to provide additional consumer protection.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Authors
Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
 
In association with
Related Topics
 
Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
Related Articles
 
Up-coming Events Search
Tools
Print
Font Size:
Translation
Channels
Mondaq on Twitter
 
Mondaq Free Registration
Gain access to Mondaq global archive of over 375,000 articles covering 200 countries with a personalised News Alert and automatic login on this device.
Mondaq News Alert (some suggested topics and region)
Select Topics
Registration (please scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions

Mondaq.com (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of www.mondaq.com

To Use Mondaq.com you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.

Disclaimer

The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.

General

Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions