This includes the use of video conferencing for medical examinations

Not-for-profit organisation the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL) and professional membership group the Forum of Insurance Lawyers (FOIL) have agreed a new set of standard practices to aid injured claimants and defendants during the Covid-19 pandemic and associated process disruptions.

Anthony Baker, FOIL president, said: “The Covid-19 pandemic has adversely impacted injured parties, insurers, FOIL members and the claimant legal sector. However, during such difficult times it is testament to the collaborative nature of both sides of the industry that FOIL and APIL can work closely together to agree a best practice guidance document.

“Following this joint guidance where possible will be of benefit to all and [will] hopefully ensure that we can navigate these choppy waters with understanding and co-operation at the forefront of what we do.”

Measures moving forwards

Stressing the importance of efficient communications, the agreement details the acceptance of services and evidence via email as well as the use of video conferencing for medical examinations where appropriate.

Medco, the system used to facilitate the sourcing of medical reports in soft tissue injury claims, has also said that the current ban on the use of remote examinations will be lifted, but with conditions.

Complying with existing court directions and timetables will also prove challenging during the coronavirus-related lockdown period, therefore the firms have confirmed case law to support extensions of up to 56 days with consent – both APIL and FOIL recommend that consent is granted in these instances.

In addition, APIL and FOIL request that, where possible, parties exchange their costs budgets.

Remote working concerns

The agreed measures have, in part, been implemented in response to home working concerns from APIL members, said its president Gordon Dalyell.

He continued: “These are unprecedented times and both APIL and FOIL want to ensure that cases run smoothly across the UK so far as possible.

“Our members told us their concerns about remote working and how they might adapt to the new way in which the courts are operating. Defendants are also going to have their own difficulties. Both organisations feel it is important to do what they can to help to resolve these issues together.

“This is not the first time APIL and FOIL have supported a collaborative approach, not least through the Serious Injury Guide, and we urge that members consider and adopt these best practices where possible.”