Government lines up fixed fee whiplash reports

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All initial whiplash reports should be subject to a fixed fee, the Government has suggested in its latest announcement on medical examination reform for claims.

 

Following a series of cross-industry working groups on the best way to clean up the whiplash claims process, Justice minister Lord Faulks has sent a letter to solicitors and insurers which outlines a number of proposed set fees.

 

Ministers have decided that GPs and physiotherapists should be paid £180 per report, while a report from an orthopaedic surgeon should be valued at £420. The actual cost of obtaining a medical record will be limited to £80 in total.

 

The letter does state that further specialist reports can be obtained at a reasonable cost outside the fixed fee regime, but makes it clear that the Government views this as being a rare occurrence.

 

It also states that if a claimant representative obtains an initial report outside the fixed fee regime, then the defendant representative should be able to make a pre-medical offer.

 

The Government has also said that a prohibition needs to be introduced to ensure that no party involved in a claim has a financial interest in an intermediary through which a medical report is obtained. It says that it also wants to ensure that "reciprocal arrangements cannot be established between different commissioning firms in order to subvert this prohibition".

 

Lord Faulks has asked that written responses to the proposals should be received by 28 May. The civil procedure rule committee will meet on 4 June to discuss the feedback.

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Mark Dugdale is the editor of Claims Media. Mark welcomes articles, letters or feedback from readers and can be reached via mark.dugdale@barkerbrooks.co.uk