Selecting medical experts in whiplash claims
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I read with interest the article in the Law Society Gazette on 19 December 2014 in which a number of personal injury firms expressed concern about the new system of instructing medical experts in whiplash claims.
At present, Claimant's solicitors can select their own expert to examine their clients and prepare a medical report. However, from 6 April 2015 doctors must be registered with MedCo Registration Solutions in order to be able to provide reports for soft tissue claims and they will be accredited by 1 January 2016. However, Justice Secretary Chris Grayling has now outlined a proposal for the random allocation of medical experts to Claimants on a "cab rank" system.
Whilst I welcome the accreditation scheme to promote quality of reports and independence, preventing a Claimant's solicitor from selecting an expert from an approved list in the Claimant's locality or of whom the solicitor has experience is in my view unhelpful and too inflexible. I have experience of experts with poor secretarial services, poor turnaround time or cursory consideration of medical records and over time I have identified a number of experts who I prefer to instruct as they conduct their role with integrity and professionalism. I would be very reluctant to send a client off to be examined by an expert of whom I have no knowledge and in whom I have no faith to put my client at ease and prepare a thorough and fair report in a reasonable period of time.
In my view this proposal is not a fair balance between Claimants and Defendants' insurers and will simply lead to Claimants being dissatisfied with the judicial process.
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