Fleet operators are expecting to benefit from reduced claims costs and lower vehicle insurance premiums as reforms to the way whiplash injuries are reported come into force.
The government’s new medical reporting process is part of a wider package aimed at reducing the frequency of spurious, exaggerated or fraudulent whiplash claims.
The measures are planned to cut costs by ensuring genuine claims receive compensation and fraudulent/exaggerated claims are refuted. This will lead to more accurate diagnosis of potential whiplash injuries, reduced average costs per claim, and less pressure on insurance premiums.
The new rules, to be introduced on April 6, require solicitors dealing with whiplash claims to instruct medical experts to provide accident reports through MedCo, a new online portal.
The reporting process will ensure any whiplash injury is confirmed by an independent and accredited medical expert. Only firms registered with MedCo will be allowed to participate.
Last October, following the Ministry of Justice’s response to its consultation on whiplash reform, the programme’s first phase was completed. Reforms included:
- Setting the cost of an initial medical report about a whiplash claim at £180;
- Establishing an expectation that medical evidence will be limited to a single report, unless a clear case is otherwise made;
- Discouraging insurers from settling a claim without a medical report confirming a claimant’s injury;
- Prohibiting the expert making a report from also treating the claimant;
- Allowing a defendant to give their account of an incident to the medical expert.
Insurers confirm the reforms are expected to bring about a cut in the cost of claims and reduced vehicle insurance premiums.