Rehabilitation is a key component in all types of personal injury cases, providing much needed treatment and support to the injury victim and satisfying the desire by both compensators and claimants to optimise recovery.
A revised Code for Rehabilitation has now been published and is intended to become operational from 1 December 2015. The new Code reinforces the original code (first published in 1999) and provides an approved framework for injury claims "within which Claimant representatives and compensators can work together."
The new Code recognises the significant differences between low value injuries (£25,000 or less) and the more serious or catastrophic injuries.
For example, the Code identifies the structure of reporting for lower value claims (triage, assessment and discharge) and recommends time scales for responding to report recommendations.
Both low value and more significant injury claims will be subject to ten "markers" which should be taken into account when assessing rehabilitation needs:
- Pre-accident physical and psycho-social issues
- Return to work/education
- Dependants living at home
- Mental capacity
- Short- and long-term daily living activities
- Realistic goals
- Fatalities/witnessing a major trauma
- How long ago the accident occurred
The Code is also now accompanied by a Guide for Case Managers who become involved in the higher value more complex injury cases, are independently appointed under the Code and usually have a background of nursing or occupational therapy.
The Case Manager's Guide includes an emphasis on the importance of goal setting and ensuring long term and short term goals are SMART.
The Code reminds Case Managers that whilst they are not expert witnesses they can be witnesses as to fact and are not immune from being called to give evidence at Court. Case Managers are also reminded of the need to be alert to changing clinical and social needs and circumstances. Financial penalties can apply if the Case Manager fails to properly review the rehabilitation regime on a regular basis, as per Loughlan v Singh.
Copies of the new Code and Guide can be downloaded from the IUA Website: www.iua.co.uk.
The revised Code has been welcomed by both Claimant and Defendant representatives and is a success story in terms in what it has achieved through the collaboration of lawyers and insurers.
If you would like to find out more about current issues affecting injury compensation click here or to discuss a potential injury claim please contact Gemma Rowe on 01392 334017 for a free, no obligation chat.