The First Step: Information on Rehabilitation
As part of the online portal process solicitors acting upon behalf of an injured party are required to complete a Claims Notification Form (CNF), of which one of the sections requiring completion is dedicated to rehabilitation.
The questions within this section are essentially quite straight forward:
If yes, please provide full details.
The answers provided are designed to be utilised by the insurer to ensure that a claimant, who has sustained injury as a direct consequence of the accident, can be reviewed to determine whether early intervention rehabilitation is appropriate.
From a recent review of randomly selected CNF’s received at QBE July 2014 it was found that more than 10% of cases did not have accurate or correct information provided within the rehabilitation section of the CNF.
Ambiguity = Delay = Higher costs
Suffice to say ambiguity clearly exists and it is unknown therefore whether or not an injured party would benefit from, or more importantly requires the provision of early rehabilitation input and whether or not it is already being provided
The lack of clarity when completing the CNF leads to further correspondence being required between an insurer and claimant solicitor which in turn could lead to a lengthy delay in the provision of rehabilitation to an injured party when they need it most, a lengthier claims process and inevitably increased costs.
It is accepted that the majority of claims involving significantly injured parties will fall outside the scope of the ‘fast track’ CNF process however there is no question that within the parameters of this system there are many injured parties who, if not provided with the appropriate early rehabilitation intervention required, run the risk of developing further physical and, or psychological complications / difficulties which in turn will lead to a longer and more significant recovery period.
Early intervention is key
The importance of early rehabilitation intervention is well researched and documented, but the failure to provide accurate information within the CNF makes providing timely support challenging and contravenes The Rehabilitation Code of Best Practice. This places emphasis on the need to provide early notifications to the compensator outlining the rehabilitation needs of the injured party.
As the International Underwriting Association and the Association of British Insurers are currently undertaking a review of the rehabilitation code to consider its extension beyond an immediate needs assessment. The significance of providing accurate information within the CNF to allow appropriate and early rehabilitation intervention appears to be more important than ever.
The MoJ portal process provides the perfect opportunity to adhere to the Rehabilitation Code’s primary objective, but on occasions this is being missed. With greater education and awareness of the need for accurate and early reporting of injured party’s injuries will lead to by reduced recovery periods along with the additional benefit of enhanced physical and, or psychological recoveries.