The Rehabilitation Code provides an approved framework for injury claims within which claimant representatives and compensators can work together. Although the Code is voluntary, the Personal Injury Preaction Protocol provides that its use should be considered for all types of personal injury claims. The Rehabilitation Code was first introduced in 1999 and the latest version was published in 2007. The aim of this code is to promote the use of rehabilitation and early intervention in the compensation process so that the injured person makes the best and quickest possible recovery.
A revised and much expanded version of the Code for Rehabilitation has now been published and is intended to become operational from 1 December 2015. It puts the injured client at the centre of the process and addresses the need for rehabilitation as a priority. The claimant’s lawyer and compensator are to work together on a collaborative basis to address the injured claimant’s needs from the very beginning, with an expected early notification of the claim and exchange of information. The Code, unlike its predecessors, is designed in a way which addresses the differing considerations that might apply to injuries of different complexity, specifically those valued at less than £25,000, medium, and catastrophic injuries. This acknowledges that even “low value” cases can have a life-changing impact.
Charlene McAuliffe, a lawyer in the Penningtons Manches personal injury team commented: “The aim of a compensation claim is to maximise an individual’s recovery and independence and return them as far as possible to their pre-injury position. Unfortunately, it would seem that, over time, perhaps due to the perceived “compensation culture” and industry concerns regarding fraudulent claims, this ideology has been lost.
“The truth is that successful rehabilitation may mean that the overall compensation award could be less. We often see with our clients that the ability to suffer less trauma and pain, make the best possible recovery, and return to work earlier is of greater importance than a larger award of compensation at the expense of health and quality of life. The revised Code demonstrates what can be achieved if both sides work together and we hope that this new version brings about a return to focusing on rehabilitation as the priority.”