MPs launch fresh whiplash inquiry to keep tabs on implementation of reforms

Ellman: principal recommendations accepted

The transport select committee has today launched a fresh inquiry into whiplash reform and criticised the government for ignoring several of its recommendations on the subject.

The MPs said they intend to scrutinise implementation of its and the government’s recommendations, including independent medical panels to support the diagnosis of whiplash, and examine whether there is more the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) could do to reduce the cost and number of exaggerated or fraudulent claims.

The committee’s last report on the issue in July was thought to have had a major influence on the MoJ’s decision last month not to proceed with an increase in the small claims limit.

It has called for written evidence on the government’s package of reforms and does not plan to hear any further oral evidence; it may issue a further report in early 2014, however. The committee’s July report will be debated in the House of Commons on Thursday.

In her letter to justice secretary Chris Grayling, committee chair Louise Ellman MP said that while it was “particularly gratifying” to see the committee’s principal recommendations accepted, “we were disappointed that the recommendations in our report did not receive specific responses [in the government’s consultation response document]. In fact, several were ignored completely. In other cases, little detail was provided about how the government would be taking things forward”.

Ms Ellman called for specific responses to seven recommendations, including the call for an explanation of how the government will monitor whether insurers honour their commitment to ensure any cost reductions resulting from the proposed reforms lead to lower premiums.

Among the other unaddressed recommendations were that the government should consult on ways to requiring whiplash claimants to provide more information in support of a claim, such as proof they saw a medical practitioner shortly after an accident or evidence of the impact of the injury; and that the government should analyse the impact of the RTA portal on claims management and costs before reconsidering whether to increase the small claims limit.

Ms Ellman also asked for more detailed information on six issues arising from the government response, including what work is being undertaken to explore how a rule could be introduced to ban pre-med offers by insurers; and what action the government will take to establish collaborative arrangements between insurers and solicitors aimed at identifying and deterring potentially fraudulent claims.

The closing date for written evidence is 13 December. Click here for more information on making a submission.


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