MoJ considers expanded whiplash role for MedCo

The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) is seeking views on an expanded role for MedCo as part of whiplash reform.

The consultation, Future Provision of Medical Reports in Road Traffic Accident (RTA)-Related Personal Injury Claims, focuses on expanding MedCo’s remit to cover initial medical reports for all RTA personal injury claims up to £5,000.

A major thrust of whiplash reform increased the small claims track limit for RTA personal injury claims up to £5,000, effectively moving them out of the hands of law firms.

In partnership with the insurance industry, the MoJ is developing a new online platform to enable unrepresented litigants to progress their own claim irrespective of whether they have legal representation. As whiplash reform also banned settling these claims without a medical report, an expansion of MedCo’s role is a logical next step.

The MoJ’s consultation is also seeking views on whether to widen the type of medical expert who can be registered on the MedCo system, and whether to extend the existing fixed recoverable costs regime for medical reports. It’s also looking at the procedure for unrepresented claimants to obtain medical evidence.

Martin Heskins, executive chair of the MedCo board, welcomed the consultation. He said: “Since the beginning of 2019 we have been considering various options for the future of medical reporting that will provide a simple and efficient service for unrepresented claimants and puts all claimants at the heart of the process. Our main aim is to ensure that all claimants are provided with a medical reporting service of the highest quality.”

The consultation is due to close on 17 May. The online platform being developed to deal with RTA personal injury claims up to £5,000 is scheduled to go live in April 2020.