Medical experts wanting to provide initial reports in whiplash cases must be accredited by MedCo from 1 January 2016, the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) has announced.
The MoJ said experts need to be registered with MedCo by 6 April 2015 to take part in the scheme and is asking them to complete an expressions of interest survey on the MedCo website by 4 January next year.
Justice secretary Chris Grayling got it wrong earlier this month when he told the Association of British Insurers (ABI) motor conference that medical experts had only three months, from January 2015 to 1 April 2015, to become accredited or “be removed from the system”.
A spokesman for the MoJ said amendments had been agreed to the RTA Protocol and the Civil Procedure Rules, implementing the second phase of the government’s whiplash reforms.
Under the amendments, lawyers must undertake ‘previous claims’ checks on potential claimants and insert a unique reference number generated by that search on all claim notification forms sent on or after 1 June 2015.
For all forms sent on or after 6 April 2015, the first report in a soft tissue injury claim must be a fixed cost medical report commissioned via the MedCo portal.
With effect from 1 January 2016, medical experts must be accredited by MedCo Registration Solutions in order to provide the initial fixed cost medical reports in soft tissue injury claims.
MedCo Registration Solutions is described on the MedCo website as “a ‘not for profit’ company limited by guarantee, established by the personal injury industry at the request of the Ministry of Justice”.
The board of directors will include representatives from the Law Society, Association of Personal Injury Lawyers, ABI, Forum of Insurance Lawyers and Motor Accident Solicitors Society. The independent chair is yet to be announced.