A leading barrister has called on the government to require that motor insurers provide cover for rehabilitation where people are left with life-changing injuries following an accident but there is no blame and so no legal claim.
Andrew Ritchie QC, former chairman of the Personal Injuries Bar Association, said the insurance industry would be able to make this work if the government required all motor policies to cover this need.
“If it added £20 to every policy, but it provided really good rehabilitation, wouldn’t that be the right thing for society?”
Mr Ritchie spoke out at a conference organised by Frenkel Topping, specialist financial advisers for people who have suffered a serious accident or personal injury, and cited the case of William Mieville-Hawkins, who spent eight months in hospital after a serious car crash in 2016 left him unable to walk and with acute memory loss.
His family entered a “blackhole” as they struggled “without any experience or funding” to make sure their son received the right care once his NHS treatment had ended.
Mr Ritchie said: “Families cannot afford private high-quality rehabilitation and local authorities don’t have the staff or the finances to pay for it either.
“Our insurance industry is inventive and well organised. If all car insurance policies had a no-fault rehabilitation clause covering the first 18 months after release from hospital, seriously injured people would regain much more independence and quality of life.
“I call on government to encourage such a clause to be compulsory in RTA policies.”
William’s mother, Wendy, who also spoke at the conference, explained how such cover would help: “We fought tooth and nail, with no funding, to make sure that William received the right care once he left hospital at an emotionally charged time. We were unsure whether we were making the right decisions and at times I felt powerless to help William.”
Mark Holt, commercial director at Frenkel Topping, added: “We back Mr Ritchie’s call on government and the insurance industry, implore them to listen to William’s story and act on Mr Ritchie’s recommendation.
“The Department for Transport and the insurance industry can do more to support families in this situation.
“In one respect William has been fortunate because he has had the love and support of his family fighting for him, but his recovery could have been improved if funding had been available.”