The Ministry of Justice confirmed in mid-January that they are going ahead with the creation of independent medical panels to assess whiplash injury claims. A group is currently involved in working out whether these panels will work and changing how whiplash injury claims are assessed.
The working group is likely to include chosen representatives of the personal injury sector, insurers and also representatives of leading bodies in the industry including the British Medical Association and Law Society.
Their current plan is to create a new set of medical panels focusing on claims worth less than £5,000 by July 2014 and the Ministry of Justice has also stated that there is no prospect of a limitation period for personal injury being announced. However, there are still discussions to be had regarding the future of small claims limit. Medical panels are their main priority at present. The medical panels are mainly a response to October’s consultation on reducing the increasing number and apparently high cost of whiplash injury claims.
Once established it has been suggested that medical reports provided by accredited medical examiners only would be acceptable as evidence in whiplash claims cases. It may mean that a specialised standardisation form of reports will be produced and then made available to personal injury professionals and claimants as well as insurers and of course they would be shown to the courts.
Many experts in the industry are convinced the panels will come into force as early as autumn the government is still required to produce and publish a full impact assessment and discuss and consult with all the relevant bodies before any major changes are made.
Chris Grayling, Justice Secretary, has made it clear on several occasions that he wants to ensure that the practice of making offers to settle claims without any medical evidence needs to be stopped and he has continually highlighted that fraudulent or exaggerated claims are a problem for many law firms. At Lamb & Co. we’re proud to say this is not in our practice and we are only in it to ensure our clients get the compensation they deserve.
Lamb & Co. Whiplash Injury Claims Specialists
Independent medical assessment is a precursor to the majority of successful whiplash injury claims. In the Lamb and Co. Six Step Compensation Process our fourth step is your medical examination. We arrange a medical examination with a medical expert in your local area. They then prepare a report on your injuries and this will include a prognosis on your long-term recovery as well as the severity of your injuries.
Although medical panels may become regulation, this step of our process would still remain in place – you’d simply have to visit an officially accredited expert in line with government recommendations. As far as our clients are concerned everything will be as straightforward and efficient as before.
We’ll be keeping an eye out for any updates to the Ministry of Justice’s position on medical panels and will of course keep you updated right here.