Chris Grayling, the justice secretary and Lord Chancellor, has promised new court rules to limit the scope of medical evidence for whiplash claims and discourage ‘pre-med’ offers.
Mr Grayling confirmed in an announcement yesterday that GPs’ fees for whiplash claims would be capped at £180 – £20 lower than the current amount allowed under the Association of Medical Reporting Organisations agreement.
A spokesperson for the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) said the fee cut would come into force in October, at the same time as the new rules.
One of them would be aimed at “discouraging insurers from settling whiplash claims without a medical report confirming the claimant’s injury”.
Another rule would introduce “an expectation that medical evidence will be limited to a single report, unless a clear case is made otherwise” and allow defendants to “give their account of the incident directly to the medical expert, when appropriate”.
A further rule announced by the MoJ yesterday would stop experts who produce reports from offering treatment to injured victims “to ensure there is no incentive for them to encourage unnecessary treatment”.
“We are determined to have an improved, robust system for medical evidence, so genuine claims can still be settled but fraud is driven out of the market,” Mr Grayling said.
In a letter attached to Mr Grayling’s announcement, Lord Faulks said the government had not abandoned its proposed ban on law firms owning medical reporting agencies.
He said the ministry “remained committed to ensuring this independence” and would take this forward as part of a second tranche of whiplash reforms, to be implemented by the end of the year.
The MoJ failed to meet its own deadline to respond for its latest whiplash claims announcement, which fell earlier last week before parliament rose for the summer recess.
The original proposals, the latest stage of the government’s plans to crack down on whiplash claims, were made in a letter sent to stakeholders by justice minister, Lord Faulks, at the beginning of May.