Related Sector: Expert Witness

We also asked Lorraine about teething issues, the review of MedCo, peer review and audit. These are included in the extended interview.

Put your questions to Lorraine Rogerson, the Chair of Medco at the Annual Bond Solon Expert Witness Conference on 6 November 2015, where she will be discussing the new MedCo system. Lorraine will also be joined by the MoJ’s Deputy Director for Civil Justice, Richard Mason to ask whether this system is the start of accrediting other areas of expertise.

The creation of MedCo has introduced a completely new system of sourcing expert witnesses, breaking the link between experts and those that instruct them. Set up in late 2014, MedCo is responsible for the implementation and running of the Government’s policy of randomly sourcing accredited experts to prepare medical reports in soft tissue injury claims.

The MedCo Board is comprised of representatives from across the industry, including the ABI, AMRO, APIL, BMA, FOIL, Law Society, MASS, MIB and the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy. The Board is overseen by independent Chair Lorraine Rogerson.

In 2012, the Prime Minister’s office issued a statement calling Britain the “whiplash capital of Europe’’ responding to a House of Commons report on the cost of motor insurance. James Dalton, Head of Motor and Liability at the Association of British Insurers, said that whiplash was “the fraud of choice for many. With an annual whiplash bill of £2bn adding an extra £90 a year to the average motor premium tough action is needed to tackle this problem.”

With pressure on the government to slash the number of false and exaggerated whiplash claims the quality and independence of expert witnesses also came under scrutiny.

The first stage was to break the financial link between experts and the solicitors or claims management companies that instruct them. From 6 April 2015 solicitors and other instructing parties can only source expert medical reports in soft tissue injury claims through the MedCo portal. This applies to all claims brought under the MoJ’s Pre-Action Protocol for Low Value Personal Injury Claims in Road Traffic Accidents. When a solicitor enters their requirements, the MedCo portal returns a choice of randomly generated MROs and medical experts from which they must choose.

The next stage, now underway, is mandatory training and accreditation to ensure all expert witnesses meet the high standards expected. From 1 January 2016, experts can only stay on the MedCo system if they have completed training and accreditation.

OPIL Bond Solon has been approved by MedCo to provide the new mandatory accredited training.

 


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