You could not make it up!
15th October 2014
Whiplash has always been controversial, in September for instance, we know of a case where of 4 people make a claim against a lorry driver after he crashed into the back of their car. Unfortunately for the claimants the driver had a video camera in his cab. It showed the car deliberately swerving in front of the lorry causing the crash. Case finished.
There is a perceived problem with whiplash. The newspapers carry stories about how much we pay from our car insurance premium to cover the cost of whiplash. The Rt. Hon. Jack Straw MP has been vociferous in his condemnation of whiplash claims.
So, I suppose it was only to be expected that the Government would come up with a ‘solution’. The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) has started (and by the time you read this, finished) a consultation on a new IT solution. A new Government IT system working and on budget, (if only), that would be a surprise. A new company will be formed and it will be independent (MedCo).
Anyway to detail, claimant solicitors will be able to check a client’s 5 year ‘whiplash history’. This magnificent new system will also be able to allocate medical experts to claims. This super dooper new company will also be responsible for a mandatory accreditation scheme for medical experts.
The whole new system is being funded by the Association of British Insurers (ABI) and ongoing funding will be paid for by accreditation fees.
There will be set fees for all, ranging from £180 to £420 for reports which seems a little optimistic for a consultant’s report. If we are not careful a new sausage machine will evolve , with the consequent lowering of standards.
In an effort to ensure fair play, there are complex rules about ownership of companies supplying medical reporting services. It seems that already we are in danger of disappearing somewhere very unpleasant.
Let’s look at the other side of the coin, a nasty solicitor firm can own an ‘expert’ company but is not allowed to use it for their clients. However the firm (MedCo) that runs the system and runs the expert accreditation system is on the side of defendants, no conflict of interest there then!
So a quick question, does anybody think that any savings this new system makes will be reflected in our car insurance premiums? If you do, I hope Father Christmas brings all your wishes this festive season. Less than 70 shopping days until the big day!