The proposed reforms have now been finalised and agreed by the Civil Procedure Rules Committee and the Statutory Instrument, The Civil Procedure (Amendments No. 6) Rules 2014, has been laid before Parliament and the rules changes will come into force on 1 October 2014.
A definition of ‘soft tissue injury’ is to be inserted into the Pre-Action Protocol for Personal Injury Claims in Road Traffic Accidents as follows:-
“‘Soft Tissue Injury Claim’ means a claim brought by an occupant of a motor vehicle where the significant physical injury caused is a soft tissue injury and includes claims where there is a minor psychological injury secondary in significance to the physical injury.”
CPR 45.19 will be amended, in accordance with The Civil Procedure (Amendments No. 6) Rules 2014, and the cost of obtaining the first report will be fixed at £180.00 excluding VAT.
The fixed costs of obtaining a further report, where justified, will be fixed, by CPR 45.19, as follows (all fees are exclusive of VAT):-
|Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon (including a review of medical records where applicable)||£420.00|
|Consultant in Accident and Emergency Medicine||£360.00|
|General Practitioner registered with the GMC||£180.00|
|Physiotherapist registered with the Health and Care Professions Council||£180.00|
|Obtaining medical records||£30.00|
|Plus direct cost from the holder – maximum||£80.00|
|Addendum report on medical records (except by Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon)||£50.00|
|Answering questions under CPR 35||£80.00|
The Pre-Action Protocol for Personal Injury Claims in Road Traffic Accidents will be amended in order that if a medical report is obtained outside of the fixed costs scheme then the cost of that report will not be recoverable and the Stage 2 settlement pack will have no effect.
If a claim exits, or falls outside, the Pre-Action Protocol for Personal Injury Claims in Road Traffic Accidents the court may not give permission for an expert medical report if the cost of that report is not within the fixed cost scheme.
It had been proposed that Defendant’s pre-medical offers would be banned until a claimant representative obtained an initial report within the fixed costs scheme and the MoJ is still of the view that these should be prohibited.
However, according to the MoJ “this is a difficult issue and a new rule alone is not enough to address this particular problem. The rules are being amended to strongly discourage this practice and the MoJ intends to continue to work with the industry on further ways to tackle this issue effectively.
The RTA Pre-Action Protocol discourages pre medical report offers being accepted. This is underlined in the rules which provide that the acceptance of a defendant’s offer to settle before the defendant receives the fixed cost medical report will carry no costs consequences until after the report has been received.”