Medical Reports: Personal Injury Claims

Historically there were problems with experts who were regarded as "guns for hire". A party bringing a claim would instruct a medical expert, who was known to favour injured parties, to issue a medical report detailing the injuries sustained. Insurance companies would use medical experts who were favourable to them. All that happened is that costs would inflate and the trial would become a lottery.

Concern was raised about this practice. Medical reporting organisations (also known as medico-legal agencies) were the response to the problem. They maintain a database of suitable experts and can be used to nominate and instruct those experts upon behalf of either party. As the selection of an expert is at arm's length, it satisfied the need for impartiality.

The Medial Reporting Organisations Agreement

The Ministry of Justice then introduced fixed costs for road traffic accidents and personal injury claims. As part of the process, discussions took place to try and agree suitable rates for medical reports. The result was the Medical Reporting Organisations Agreement (MROA), originally entered into in 2007. It was supposed to plug the gap until the Civil Procedure Rules were amended to deal with the issue, but the amendments never took place. The Agreement has therefore continued on a rolling renewal basis.

How Does The Agreement Work?

Who and What Does The Agreement Apply To?

The Agreement applies to GP, Orthopaedic Consultant or Accident and Emergency Specialist reports in road traffic accidents and claims brought under employer's liability or public liability insurance. It is only intended to apply to cases where compensation for injuries is expected to be less than £15,000. The amount charged depends on the level of expert and whether they were also asked to review medical records (GP experts are not always expected to). When the expert provides a report, the bill is sent directly to the other side for payment and the amount of the fee depends on how long they take to pay it.

The Agreement is only binding on insurers and Medical Reporting Organisations who have signed up to it. However, over time it has gradually become the benchmark that report fees can be compared to.

The Rates Allowed Under The Original Agreement

Current Rates - Paid within 90 days of receipt of invoice and required information

GP, no records - £195

Additional fee for GP reviewing records - £50

Orthopaedic consultant, with records - £425

Accident & Emergency expert, with records - £375

Addendum reports - Cost + £25

Cost of agency obtaining records (per set) - Cost charged by data provider + £25

In 2012 the rates were reviewed for the first time. From 2 April 2012 the rates allowed for GP reports were increased by £5. Under the new version of Agreement a Fees Committee is also to meet annually to review the rates.

VAT is payable where applicable.

Current Rates - Paid after 90 days from receipt of invoice and required information

GP, no records - £220

Additional fee for GP reviewing records - £55

Orthopaedic consultant, with records - £465

Accident & Emergency expert, with records - £410

Addendum reports - Cost + £30

Cost of agency obtaining records (per set) - Cost charged by data provider + £30

In 2012 the rates were reviewed for the first time. From 2 April 2012 the rates allowed for GP reports were increased by £5. Under the new version of Agreement a Fees Committee is also to meet annually to review the rates.

VAT is payable where applicable.

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