APIL has said there is insufficient clarity in the government’s response to its consultation on the future provision of medical reports in road traffic accident (RTA) related claims. The response from the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) will form part of a number of changes to support the increase to the small claims track limit for RTA-related personal injury claims next April. Key measures announced in the response include extending the MedCo system to cover the provision of initial medical reports for all RTA-related personal injury claims under £5000. However, calls to reduce the current level of £180 plus VAT for initial soft tissue reports was rejected. APIL president Gordon Dalyell said the report fails to provide clarity when people are looking for answers on how the new small claims system will work.

He added: “The government needs to address the substantial financial barrier injured people will face if they must pay £180 up front for their medical reports when liability is denied. “Not everyone can afford this. It would be very easy for insurers to play the game of denying liability in the knowledge that it will put genuine injured people off taking the claim further simply because they can’t afford the medical report.” However, the MoJ report said: “We are not persuaded by either the views presented, or the data submitted by stakeholders that it would be inappropriate to maintain the current level of £180 plus VAT for initial soft tissue reports. “These decisions will provide certainty to both claimants and to those providing reports as to the cost of obtaining medical evidence in support of a claim. “We will however, continue to monitor this issue with a view to reviewing this at an appropriate point following the implementation of the reforms in April 2020.” The government’s plans also include limiting the provision of initial medical reports for non-soft tissue personal injury claims – whether or not accompanied by a soft tissue injury – to general practitioners and accident and emergency consultants only.

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