November's news cycle kicked off from Manchester as the personal injury profession convened for the Motor Accident Solicitors Society conference. AMRO Chairman Dr Simon Margolis joined in with the debate to illustrate the importance of independent medical expertise.
Dr Margolis quashed the suggestion made by LV='s director of claimant and technical services at LV Insurance Martin Milliner, that a DWP-style independent assessment of injuries would benefit the industry, pointing out the "high frequency of medical decisions that were subject to appeal and overturned."
Instead, Dr Margolis argued for a third way, emphasising independent ownership of MROs, fixed fees for common report types and review of medical records if desired by either party or the expert. "It's unfair to blame the increase in claims numbers on Doctors or MROs," said Dr Margolis. "Evolutionary change could lead to a more robust system where MROs and experts are more accountable and less able to behave inappropriately."
Elsewhere at November's conference marathon the discussions turned to Portal fee predictionsin advance of the regulator's publication of same. It seemed that the market had an idea of its best-worst-case scenario and was having a bit of a sweepstake until the real thing landed on our desks.
When the day finally arrived, we had legal blogger Kerry Underwood to thank for saving us all time navigating through the Ministry of Justice's web site, when he published tables after the new portal fees were proposed. The response from personal injury professionals was understandably passionate, with Compass Costs Consultants MD Phil Hodgkinson replying on twitter '@hodfather ''let the fight begin, ridiculously low for EL/PL'
With feelings running high, attention again turned to whether the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers will make good on its threat to apply for Judicial Review into the portal reforms planned next April. This appears to be a common tactic employed as a last resort, as Premextra reported this time last year.