The Ministry of Justice announced yesterday that it is opening up a 12-week consultation, in which it is seeking feedback on issues relating to medical reporting in road traffic accident-related claims valued up to £5,000.
As the government consults on medico-legal reforms an increase in fees for medical reports is expected, alongside a ban on lawyers instructing medical experts before the defendants’ liability decision is known.
The £180 fixed fee for the initial report is expected to increase to £210 and other fixed fees such as a consultant orthopaedic surgeon from £420 to £500, accident and emergency consultant reports from £360 to £430, costs for obtaining medical records from £30 to £35 and costs from the records holder from £80 to £95.
In the consultation paper, Lord Christopher Bellamy KC said that due to increasing financial pressures on the sector over the last two years following the implementation of the whiplash reforms and given the wider recent economic conditions, this is an appropriate time to consult on several medico-legal reporting issues related to the MedCo process.
As well as the proposed increase in medical report fees, the MedCo ‘offer’ which refers to the number and mix of medical reporting organisations or direct medical experts presented to the user when searching the Official Injury Claims portal (OIC), will also be considered. This is intended to make it easier to qualify to do the work.
Currently, there is a high criterion for experts being eligible to write reports and coupled with the number of practitioners taking on this work since the Whiplash reforms in 2021, this has meant that the volume of claims has fallen.
Medical reporting has always played a key role in the personal injury process and the quality of medico-legal reporting must remain paramount to support both a represented or unrepresented claimant in their access to justice.
The MOJ has now published a consultation document covering issues relevant to those who commission and/or provide medical reports used in support of RTA-related PI claims valued at up to £5,000. Specifically, they are inviting views on:
The consultation will run for 12 weeks (closing at midnight on 10 October). Copies of this consultation document and a link to complete an online version of the consultation questions can be found here: https://consult.justice.gov.uk/civil-law/rta-medical-reporting-consultation.
Alternatively, responses can be sent via email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Solicitors who continue to act for those claimants not wishing to pursue claims alone in the new RTA claims regime now face having to fund the cost of medical report fees whilst earning less in legal fees on successful cases to cover this cost. Disbursement write-offs could eat heavily into a lower profit margin.
For this reason, we have developed a cost-effective ATE insurance solution for personal injury claims following an RTA occurring after 31 May 2021, which takes into account the new whiplash tariff awards and which continue to help support RTA claims being run on a CFA basis by covering the cost of all disbursements and any adverse costs in failed cases.
This is a single, easy-to-use policy covering all cases from small claims to high-value multi-track claims. Premiums are deferred and based on the final value of the claim.
For more information please contact us by emailing email@example.com or calling 0870 766 9997