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Whiplash Reforms has the horse arrived?

Further to our article on fixed fees for medical reports "putting the cart before the horse", the government have now set out proposals for timetabling some radical changes from 1 April 2015 including:

  • An IT system to ensure independent commissioning of medical reports. Experts must register an interest by April 2015 at www.medco.org.ukandthe process of accreditation will then commence after that date
  • An accreditation scheme for experts
  • Data sharing across the discipline, including "previous claims" checks with costs sanctions against claimants for non-compliance

The purpose of the reform is to tackle fraudulent and exaggerated claims. The proposals are already subject to challenge by Judicial review from seven prominent personal injury firms. What do they object to? They argue the proposal violates human rights and the random selection of experts or MROs (Medical Reporting Organisations) is "irrational and anti-competitive" and removes the Claimant's right to carefully select their own expert.

n.b: These reforms will only apply to soft tissue injury claims commenced under the protocol for low value (i.e. less than £25,000) RTA claims proceeding through the claims "portal" since 1 October 2014.