Amendments to the Civil Procedure Rules from October this year
On the 1st of October 2014 the Ministry of Justice published amendments to the Civil Procedure Rules. The recent amendments relate to Road Traffic Accident Claims, in particular soft tissue injuries and will aim to assist recent Government Proposals.
The end goal is to reduce the amount of fraudulent personal injury claims through focusing and controlling medical evidence.
In this amended version of the Civil Procedure rules, the definition for a soft tissue injury caused by a road traffic accident has been re-defined. The new definition states:
“A claim brought by an occupant of a motor vehicle where the significant physical injury is a soft tissue injury and includes claims where this is a minor psychological injury secondary in significance to the physical injury.”
This definition of a soft tissue injury goes some way to ensure that claimants involved in road traffic accidents are unable to avoid these new rules, by claiming for a lesser psychological injury such as travel anxiety.
The new amendments focus heavily on the implementation of a system of fixed fees. From October 1st a fixed fee will apply for any initial medical report from a medical professional. If a claimant is in need of more than one medical report, a fee will apply for any expert from the following disciplines:
- Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon
- Consultant in Accident and Emergency Medicine
- General Practitioner registered with the General Medical Council
- Physiotherapist registered with the Health and Care Professions Council
For the initial medical report, the fee will be fixed at £180 (plus VAT), this is regardless of the profession of the medical expert. For following medical reports, costs will depend on the expert, however will still comply with the fixed cost system.
The amendments to the Civil Procedure Rules outlined above relating to fixed fee medical reports only relate to ‘road traffic accidents’ resulting in bodily injury to any person or damage to property caused by, or arising out of, the use of motor vehicle on a road or other public place in England and Wales. A motor vehicle means a mechanically propelled vehicle intended for use on roads such as a motorcar or motorcycle.
The fixed fee medical reports do not relate to pedestrian or bicycle accidents.
These amendments came with the added promise of more changes scheduled for 2015. From January 2015 changes will focus on the accreditation of medical experts and medical agencies. This will include the writing of medical reports and the commissioning of them in accordance to these recent amendments. Focus will also be put upon data sharing and the prevention of fraudulent claims.
Here at SK Medical Practice Limited we are perfectly prepared for these January amendments, just as we were ready to embrace the recent changes in October. We are more than confident that our existing ‘independence’ as a medical agency puts us in good stead for the future and continue to deliver the best results for our clients.