My previous blog informed about the MoJ Ministry of Justice published consultation as part of its programme to reform the soft tissue injury (‘whiplash’) claims process. This consultation is entitled ‘Future Provision of Medical Reports in Road Traffic Accident related personal injury claims’
The consultation sought views on:
- Expanding MedCo’s remit to cover initial medical reports for all Road Traffic Accident (RTA) related personal injury claims up to £5000
- Whether to widen the type of medical expert who can be registered on the MedCo system
- Whether to extend the existing fixed recoverable costs regime for medical reports
- The procedure for unrepresented claimants to obtain medical evidence.
MedCo is the system used to facilitate the sourcing of the first fixed cost medical report in soft tissue injury claims brought under the MoJ’s Pre-Action Protocol for Low Value Personal Injury Claims in Road Traffic Accidents .
In April 2019 there were over 31,000 searches on the MedCo system resulting in the selection of an MRO and over 4,600 searches resulting in the selection of a DME. Of all selections that result in a MedCo report approximately 94% are produced by GPs.
Currently medical reports for all road traffic accident (“RTA”) soft tissue injury claims up to £25,000, have to be sourced through MedCo. When the reforms are implemented, there will be a situation where claimants with non-soft tissue RTA injuries over £5,000 will not have to source medical reports through MedCo but those with a similar injury valued at less than £5,000 will have to. This is confusing and is also likely to lead to exploitation.
Medco opinion is that GP experts have sufficient expertise to cover most injuries up to £5000. In addition, the stated need for a revised qualifying criteria in order to further enhance a high quality independent medical journey for the claimant.
The points of MedCo’s response in summary are:
*Medco supports the expansion to cover all RTA related personal injury claims up to £5000.
*MedCo’s view is that GP experts have sufficient expertise to cover injury up to £5000.
*Must publish a revised qualifying criteria to ensure litigants in person are afforded a robust quality independent medical journey
The outcomes of the MoJ consultation will feed directly into its wider ‘whiplash’ reform programme to be implemented in April 2020 which includes: Raising the small claims limit from £1000 to £5000 in all RTA personal injury claims
The outcomes of the MoJ consultation will feed directly into its wider ‘whiplash’ reform programme to be implemented in April 2020 which includes:
*Raising the small claims limit from £1000 to £5000 in all RTA personal injury claims.
*Introduction of a tariff for general damages in “whiplash” claims.
*Prohibition on settling such claims without a medical report.