The Government has recently announced the introduction of a new panel of independent medical experts to provide their opinion on injuries sustained in whiplash claim cases. The concept of the panel, which is set to provide all expert reports in such cases by April of next year, is causing a furore amongst legal firms who assist claimants who have sustained a whiplash injury. Indeed, some of the country’s leading personal injury firms are uniting with the intention of seeking a judicial review of the controversial plans.
The Government’s rationale behind the proposition stems from a desire to curb fraudulent and exaggerated claims which, the Ministry of justice purports, have been encouraged in no small part by insurers’ practice of paying out for whiplash claims without requiring a medical examination.
One facet of an argument against the panel is that its implementation would inevitably lead to higher insurance premiums because insurers costs – and therefore premiums – would inevitably increase from the insistence of a medical report. For solicitors assisting with whiplash claims, who are seeking due justice and rightful financial compensation for injured parties, there is an even greater concern; the implementation of such a panel will have a hugely detrimental impact upon a claimant’s ability to seek a just resolution. Denying a claimant their current capacity of choice in determining their own attentively selected qualified professional expert could even be argued to infringe upon their Human Rights, as contended by many of the nation’s personal injury claim specialists.
Operating under a cab-rank style of distribution – which essentially dictates that claimants would have a severely restricted choice of medical assessor –the scheme could nurture a culture of anti-competition in law firms and medical agencies, resulting in further impact upon the quality of legal services depended upon by whiplash victims. It begs the question as to how long it will be before similar strategies – and their resulting negative impact upon claims – are implemented within other types of personal injury claims.
In seeking to eradicate fraud and improperly inflated claims, as rightful and proper that end may be, it could be held that the Government, in seeking to weed out the bad, will inadvertently be impacting upon the good. Further consideration should be given to develop a system which addresses the Government’s concerns, but which does not adversely impact upon the rightful claims of road traffic accident victims suffering from whiplash.
Here at Farleys Solicitors our Personal Injury team have a wealth of experience in helping those who have been involved in road traffic accidents secure compensation. For a free claim assessment please don’t hesitate to contact us on 0845 050 1958 or alternatively you can email us.