Those involved in personal injury claims will be aware that the Rehabilitation Code 2015 (“the new Code”) came into effect 1 December.
Rehabilitation is an important process in any injury claim seeking to help restore quality of life to the injured party and help facilitate a return to work.
The Rehabilitation Code remains voluntary and used in conjunction with the Pre Action Protocol for personal injury claims. More often than not it is used for injuries of a serious nature; however, the new Code introduces a separate section for lower value claims (with a value of £25,000 or lower). It also now provides a case management guide for case managers and those involved in their selection.
For lower value cases the claimant solicitors may arrange for treatment without getting agreement from the compensator first although the compensator will not be obliged to pay for treatment which is unreasonable in nature/content or cost. The claimant’s rehabilitation needs will be recorded by the solicitor in section C of the Claims Notification Form in the MoJ Portal. The compensator will require only a Triage Report which will stand outside the litigation process.
Other matters covered in the new Code are:
- the claimant has the ultimate choice of case manager and is not obliged to undergo intervention which is unreasonable;
- the case manager is to proactively co-operate with NHS clinicians;
- the principles of the Code should be adopted beyond the Immediate Needs Assessment (INA) and throughout the process and
- the compensator shall not seek to recoup the rehabilitation costs if the claim fails unless fraud or fundamental dishonesty can be proven.
The new Code sets out timescales as follows:
- claimant solicitor to consider rehabilitation needs at earliest possible stage and notify the compensator;
- the compensator shall respond to that request for rehabilitation within 21 days;
- both parties must consider the choice of assessor and raise any objections within 21 days;
- the INA will occur within 21 days of referral and sent simultaneously to the parties;
- the compensator shall pay for the report within 28 days of receipt and shall respond to recommendations within 21 days;
- the Triage Report for lower value claims should be made available simultaneously to both parties and
- the compensator will pay for the Triage Report within 15 working days and pay for it within 28 days of receipt.
Find the full Code and Guide available on the IUA website.