The requirement of parties to a personal injury claim to consider rehabilitation
The Pre-Action Protocol for Personal Injury Claims requires that parties to a personal injury claim should consider, as early as possible, whether the Claimant has needs that could be met by rehabilitation, treatment or other measures.
The Protocol encourages parties to a personal injury claim to follow the Rehabilitation Code in considering how to identify the needs of the Claimant and how to address the cost of providing for the Claimant’s needs.
What is the Rehabilitation Code?
The Rehabilitation Code is published by the Rehabilitation Working Party which consists of representatives from the International Underwriting Association of London, the Association of British Insurers, Lloyd’s primary insurers, legal groups, care providers and the National Health Service.
The Code is endorsed by many organisations, including the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers.
The latest version of the Rehabilitation Code was published in 2007.
The aim of the Rehabilitation Code is to promote the use of rehabilitation and early investigation so as to ensure that an injured person makes the best and quickest recovery. The Code encourages Claimant representatives and “compensators” (insurers and loss adjusters) to work together in order to achieve this.
What steps is a Claimant’s solicitor expected to take?
The Code requires the solicitor of a Claimant to consider whether early intervention, rehabilitation or medical treatment is likely to, or may possibly, improve the Claimant’s present and/ or long term well being. The Claimant’s solicitor is expected to consult with the Claimant, his family and where appropriate, his treating physician(s) in this regard and address the need for rehabilitation at the earliest practicable stage and throughout the case.
The Code also encourages the solicitor of a Claimant to consider, in conjunction with the Claimant and his family, whether the Claimant has an immediate need for aids, adaptations or adjustments to employment to enable him to remain in employment, whether in his existing job or in a suitable alternative job. If the Claimant’s solicitor is of the view that the Claimant has such needs he is expected to communicate such needs to the compensators as soon as practicable.
A solicitor is not expected to make any decisions on the need for rehabilitation or treatment himself and will ordinarily seek the advice of a medical expert.
Solicitors are expected to work closely with compensators in this regard and are expected to provide compensators with sufficient information to enable them to assess the position. The Pre-Action Protocol for Personal Injury Claims requires the Claimant’s solicitor to provide full details of the Claimant’s injuries, the nature and extent of any or any likely continuing disability and any recommendations that have been made relating to the rehabilitation of the Claimant.
If a compensator suggests rehabilitation, early intervention or medical treatment, the Claimant’s solicitor is expected to discuss this with the Claimant and/ or his family and respond to the compensator within 21 days.
What steps is a compensator expected to take?
The Code encourages compensators to consider whether early intervention, rehabilitation or medical treatment is likely to benefit the Claimant in the short, medium or long term. The compensator is expected to address the need for rehabilitation at the earliest practicable stage and throughout the case.
If a compensator takes the view that intervention, rehabilitation or medical treatment will be beneficial, he is expected to inform the Claimant’s solicitor of this as soon as is practicable.
For more information on:
- Assessment of a Claimant’s needs
- The appointment of an assessor
- The assessment
- The assessor’s report
- Recommendations of the assessor