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.
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...