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quality concerns as Government announces whiplash medical report fee cap

4 August 2014

The Government is to introduce a cap on fees for medical reports associated with whiplash injury claims in an attempt to combat insurance fraud.

Under the new rules, which come into force on 1 October 2014, the maximum a medical professional can charge for an initial whiplash report will be £180. Currently, prices of up to £700 are being charged.

Claimants will also be prevented from recovering higher costs of reports in the event they do not keep their experts fees within the requisite limits"

The Government is planning to implement an accreditation scheme for experts who provide whiplash reports so as to introduce greater independence and impartiality to the claims process.

Each year around 500,000 whiplash insurance claims are made adding up to £90 to the average insurance premium according to the Association of British Insurers.

James Arrowsmith, partner at insurance law firm Browne Jacobson, said:

"There is no question that quality, independent medical reports assist in identifying fraud and in resolving claims. Accreditation therefore has some appeal, though it will be important that the accreditation is undertaken by a body which has the correct expertise to monitor the quality of reports effectively and on an ongoing basis.

"The £180 fixed fee relates to first reports so we anticipate secondary reports may be obtained far more frequently than the Ministry of Justice has anticipated, especially in respect of psychological injury.

"Whilst the fixed fees are being introduced to try to reduce the cost of motor insurance premiums it is clearly questionable whether the quality of reports is going to stay the same with the reduction of fees. It is important that the production of reports does not simply become a conveyor belt process."

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Lakhbir Rakar

Lakhbir Rakar

PR Manager