In our last article, we discussed how virtual GP appointments are being used instead of face-to-face appointments during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In this article, we look at how virtual examinations have been allowed during this time to enable personal injury cases to progress during lockdown.
Ban on remote examinations suspended
On the 23rd March 2020, MedCo* suspended the ban on remote examinations for the purposes of MedCo reports, in direct response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Although it maintains its position that remote examinations are not routinely appropriate, it agreed that due to the current social distancing rules, this is the best way forward.
The move was also taken to try and relieve the financial impact of the current pandemic on claimant lawyers, who were faced with being unable to progress cases due to clients not being seen.
What are medical reports?
A key part of any personal injury compensation claim is a medical report from an independent expert, which examines the injuries sustained, any pre-existing conditions, treatment options and the predicted recovery process.
They report is used by a solicitor to support a person’s claim for compensation, to value the claim thus ensuring the injured party receives a fair amount for their injuries.
Ordinarily, a claimant would have to attend this examination in person, however during the pandemic, solicitors are able to suggest a remote examination in a bid to avoid not only transmitting the coronavirus, but also to avoid delays to their claims. The remote examination should be via Zoom/Skype or suchlike; remote telephone examinations are not permitted.
No claimant will be pressured into agreeing to a remote examination and such remote appointments should not take place where a face-to-face examination is preferred.
There are some concerns that the use of remote examinations increases the risk of fraudulent claims, or that some insurance companies may challenge them. If this is the case, a claimant may be required to attend a face-to-face examination once it is safe to do so.
Remote examinations have their restrictions which must be considered during the claim process. These include the failure to accurately detect injuries, the ability to validate symptoms and a reliance on the claimant’s ability to communicate effectively.
Examinations following COVID-19
MedCo have made it extremely clear that this is only a temporary measure, and once the suspension of the ban ceases, all appointments must be capable of being transferred to face-to-face meetings.
We can be contacted either via email: firstname.lastname@example.org or via the telephone: 01603 877000.
*MedCo is the system used to facilitate the sourcing of the first fixed cost medical report in soft tissue injury claims brought under the Ministry of Justice Per-Action Protocol for Low Value Personal Injury Claims in Road Traffic Accidents.