Medical reports for low-value road traffic claims should be free to all injured people regardless of whether liability is admitted, APIL has stated.
The association’s response to the Ministry of Justice consultation on how injured litigants in person will obtain medical reports following the Civil Liability Act highlights an unfair financial barrier to justice.
“The MoJ’s plans are for the wrongdoer to pay the upfront cost of the medical report but only when liability is admitted or partially admitted,” explained APIL’s immediate past president Brett Dixon.
“All an insurer will need to do is to deny liability and the claimant will most likely go away,” he said.
“An injured person would have to put up £180 for the medical report to take the claim any further. Many people do not have the means to pay £180 up front. Also, they may not feel confident against experienced, bankrolled, defendant lawyers on their own, and worry about the risk of not getting the money back,” Mr Dixon explained.
“Many will be deterred from pursuing genuine claims. In the case of those with whiplash injuries lasting three months, it will feel like a big outlay for £225 in pain and suffering compensation under the tariffs. The uncertainty would be too daunting,” said Mr Dixon.
Chair of the House of Commons Justice Committee, Bob Neill MP, has sought clarification from the MoJ on how the new system would deal with the payment of reports in cases where liability is denied. The committee is particularly concerned about injured people of limited means.
“Financial barriers must never be put up to stop injured people from seeking the redress they deserve,” Mr Dixon added.