The MoJ has confirmed that a working group will next month begin the process of creating medical panels to assess whiplash injury claims. The group is likely to be made up of Claimant and Defendant solicitors, insurers, and bodies such as the Law Society and the British Medical Association.
The focus is to be on claims below £5,000.00. It has been stated there is no prospect of change for the limitation period, although changes to the small claims limit remain under consideration. The key element will be consultation on reduction of the number and cost of whiplash claims.
It is likely that once established, only medical reports from accredited examiners will be accepted, probably in a specific, standardised form. It is hoped the panels may be in place by the autumn.
As part of the process it is hoped that the insurers practice of making offers without requiring medical evidence could be stopped, and that insurers could be pressed to share more data on suspected fraudulent/exaggerated claims, with Claimant solicitors encouraged to carry out more effective checks on potential clients.