Your Legal Friend has responded to news that the Ministry of Justice is launching a cross-industry working group to establish how independent medical panels will operate when it comes to assessing whiplash claims.
The firm, which has been proactively supporting the introduction of such panels, has welcomed the announcement but cautions that they mustn't be run in a ‘tick box’ manner.
Philip Waters, expert RTA personal injury lawyer at Your Legal Friend comments;
“The establishment of an independent medical panel to assess whiplash claims is a crucial step in ensuring all road traffic accident victims have a fair assessment of their injuries. This will help stamp out fraudulent or exaggerated claims and put an end to the practice of insurers making claimants offers to settle without seeking advice from a medical expert. We believe that all personal injury claims should go through an independent medical assessment and we have been campaigning for this for some time.”
“However there must be proper care taken over who is on that panel, and what any ‘standardised’ reporting will look like. The panels should in no way end up being run by large medical agencies employing lower skilled staff to ‘tick boxes’. This simply will not give a full picture of someone’s health.”
“It is also positive to hear indications that the MoJ will not be raising the small claims court limit. This will ensure all innocent personal injury victims are given greater access to justice. We recently researched road traffic accident victims and found that three quarters (73%) of those who have previously pursued legal action could not have afforded to pay for a solicitor out of their own pockets. Innocent victims must not have their access to justice threatened, and we hope the MoJ continues its work to ensure this remains the case.”
Read the latest coverage: 'MoJ confirms plans for medical whiplash panels' (The Law Society Gazette, 16.01.2014)