For too long, insurers have argued that some medical reports are just not worth paying for, which has undoubtedly spurned distrust in the quality of reports, and driven the growth in pre-medical offers, which have done little to assist in the fight against fraud. The recent Government announcement of the intention to accredit the medics who undertake whiplash examinations is an important, positive step that is to be welcomed.
A good report is one worth paying for. The majority of medics are doing a good job, so what will accreditation achieve? Firstly, it gives consistency. An accredited medic will undergo refresher training in best practice diagnosis and prognosis. They will be completely conversant with their responsibilities to the court: the need to remain independent of mind and provide an accurate and honest opinion which is in no way influenced by the paying party. The reports will be improved to make them useful and meaningful in assessing the right level of compensation. Reports will be audited and checked to make sure that they are tailored individually to each injured person, and contain sufficient useful information to enable a lawyer, or a court, to make a good determination. They will be precise, not woolly.
The process of the examination will be agreed by medics.They will agree what timeframe is sufficient in order to make a good diagnosis,and will be able to call for medical records if needed so that they can see the individual’s medical history. Previous injuries can show whether there are likely to be complications or an extended prognosis due to exacerbation of a previous injury. Some people are indeed unlucky enough to be injured more than once.
A key focus of the Government announcement was that costs would be predictable and controlled, and this new improved process of medical reporting will cost significantly less. This will help keep the burden on premiums proportionate. Also, a cheaper, better quality medical report must surely be one that insurance companies will want to pay for, and the prolific flaunting of pre-med offers will die out. Let’s hope so. The aspiration here is that no fraudster will ever be offered money before they are seen by a doctor.A doctor has the skills to weed-out the fraudsters from the genuinely injured who need help. It is their job to look at injuries and people with medical problems all day, so inconsistencies should surely be spotted. A fraudster, faced with a medical appointment, and a potential fraud allegation, would hopefully be put off from taking his deception any further. Whereas anyone is going to struggle to turn down a ‘no questions asked’cheque from an insurance company. “Free money? Thanks very much”.