The MoJ published an update to its whiplash reforms plan this morning, and is seeking consultation
The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) is considering enhancing MedCo’s remit as part of the whiplash reforms due to be implemented next year.
As part of the reforms, the government is raising the small claims track limit for road traffic accident (RTA) related personal injury claims to £5,000.
With this, the MoJ, along with MedCo, the Motor Insurers’ Bureau (MIB) and two appointed tech partners are building the Litigants in Person (LiP) Portal, which will allow individual claimants to complete their claim without the help of a lawyer.
The MoJ has said that “decisions are required” on how unrepresented claimants will obtain a medical report.
So, the MoJ is conducting a short consultation, seeking views on extending and expanding MedCo’s remit.
It is seeking views on:
- Expanding MedCo’s remit to cover initial medical reports for all RTA related personal injury claims under £5,000
- Whether to widen the type of medical expert who can be registered on the MedCo system
- Whether to extend the existing fixed cost medical report regime for medical reports
- The procedure for unrepresented claimants to obtain medical evidence
Martin Heskins, executive chair of the MedCo board said: “MedCo welcomes the opportunity to be consulted on these important issues.
“Since the beginning of 2019 we have been considering various options for the future of medical reporting that will provide a simple and efficient service for unrepresented claimants and puts all claimants at the heart of the process. Our main aim is to ensure that all claimants are provided with a medical reporting service of the highest quality.”
However, Matthew Maxwell-Scott, executive director of th Association of Consumer Support Organisations (ACSO) is sceptical about the timing of the consultation.
While he agrees for it to be made compulsory for injured people to obtain a medical report when making an RTA claim, he thinks the consultation and the proposed expansion of MedCo’s remit has come “late in the day”.
He said: “The government was right to make it compulsory for injured people to obtain a medical report when making a claim for minor RTA injuries, as this would stop the practice of insurers making pre-med offers to claimants, which greatly increased the risk of fraud.
“However, Medco has already made clear that its members need at least 12 months to prepare fully for the post-reform world, including the implementation of the portal in April 2020.
“The timing of the consultation - coming so late in the day - adds to our concern that the government will implement a complex system that is not ready and risks customer detriment.”
He then urged ministers to give better clarity about the progress of the portal build.
“The opportunity for claimants to access their medical reports via the portal without hassle is an aim we all share.”
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