Government reforms which aim to tackle fraudulent and exaggerated whiplash claims have been welcomed by south east law firm Furley Page.
From April 6, solicitors dealing with road traffic accident whiplash claims will have to instruct medical experts to provide a report through a new online ‘portal’ known as MedCo.
“The new rules mean that only firms who, like Furley Page, have registered with MedCo can participate. MedCo will be providing a list of experts from which claimant solicitors may instruct, and only MedCo-registered (and ultimately accredited) experts will be on that list,” said Furley Page partner Neille Ryan.
The changes also mean that it will no longer be possible for claimant lawyers to source reports from an individual or organisation with which they have a financial link.
“It’s a move intended to reduce the possibility of an expert writing a report which is unfairly favourable to the claimant and, ultimately, to deter those aiming to cheat the system,” said Ryan.
“According to the Association of British Insurers (ABI), whiplash is one of the most common personal injuries people claim compensation for. More than 1,500 whiplash claims are made in the UK every day and the ABI detects thousands of bogus claims every year.
“The Government has taken major strides towards cracking down on this type of fraud so it’s welcome news that, from April 2015, all medical reports will be fair, independent and transparent and that there will be an accreditation standard that medical experts will have to meet,” added Ryan.
“While the practicalities of using the MedCo portal remain to be seen, the main principle that it seeks to address – namely helping to reduce the possibility of fraudulent claims – is one which we fully endorse.”