Transport Select Committee investigation finds psychological claims being made even if they are not in the claimant’s interest

The Transport Select Committee has called on the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) to stop solicitors from “playing the system” when submitting claims for psychological harm as a result of a road traffic accident.

“The government should press the Solicitors Regulation Authority to stop some solicitors from playing the system to maximise their income from unnecessary medical reports,” it wrote in a report published today.

During its probe into the market, the committee found evidence of an increase in the number of solicitors putting forward psychological claims, even if it was not in the claimants interest.

In submitting evidence to the investigation, the ABI said: “Where a claim for psychological injury is made, that claim is often being advanced for the benefit of the claimant solicitor rather than the claimant themselves given that the former is seeking to maximise the fee income that can be derived from the claim.”

The ABI also said that psychological claims were now present in 2% of whiplash, neck and back injury claims; double the level prior to 2011.

But The Motor Accident Solicitors Society said a survey of its members calculated the figure to be closer to 4% and said it was “clearly an area that requires closer inspection”.

The ABI also claimed that in some instances unqualified practitioners were being used to provide reports on psychological harm.

“Unqualified individuals are testing claimants for psychological injury,” it wrote. “In addition, the questionnaires that are being used to assess claimants are insufficiently rigorous to reach a robust clinical diagnosis.”

To combat the problem, the Transport Select Committee has also called on the government to extend the scope of the proposed independent medical panels so they cover other types of injury in addition to whiplash claims.