As governments ease lockdown restrictions and we begin to emerge back into ordinary life, there has been news this week as to what this means for whiplash claims.
Amid much controversy that remote examinations could encourage fraud it seems that what was initially thought to be a temporary measure appears, for now set to remain.
Alongside fraud concerns there has been much discussion and debate as to whether by carrying out examinations in this way there is the possibility that serious injuries may not be picked up if a medical expert is not able to fully assess the claimant’s condition
Medco, however, confirmed last week that the ban on remote examinations will remain suspended ‘until further notice’.
Whilst face-to-face examinations can take place certain conditions have to be met, including contacting the claimant directly to obtain their informed consent and obtaining documentary proof that such consent was obtained. The guidance adds that neither claimants nor experts should feel coerced in any way to hold face-to-face or remote examinations and any such instance of perceived coercion should be reported to the appropriate regulators and Medco.
With yet another duty to fulfil and the possibility of exposure for a professional negligence claim if these conditions are not met, it is easy to see that provided the experts have the appropriate facilities in place this may for the time being prove to be the best option.
Personal injury lawyers have reported a fall in instructions from road traffic accidents caused by the lockdown with a reduction in vehicle usage which has undoubtedly assisted the experts in giving them time to deal with any teething problems in arranging and carrying out remote examinations.
The question is when will face-to-face examinations be reintroduced and will remote examinations remain, at least in part, with us for good?
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