The personal injury team at Penningtons Manches Cooper acts for a number of pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists, all of whom have suffered significant, serious and in some instances, life-changing injuries. While the circumstances surrounding their injuries vary, what these individuals often have in common is an immediate requirement for support, assistance and rehabilitation.
A fundamental part of personal injury claims is establishing client needs and obtaining the right support. To assist with this, lawyers and insurers are directed towards The Rehabilitation Code which aims to promote the use of rehabilitation and early investigation to ensure an injured person makes the best and quickest recovery, putting them as far as possible back into the position they were in before the injury.
The Rehabilitation Code is published by the Rehabilitation Working Party which consists of representatives from insurers, legal groups, care providers and the NHS. The latest version of the code was published in 2015 and is designed to encourage claimant representatives and insurers to work together to achieve this.
A vital tool in that process is an Immediate Needs Assessment (INA), during which recommendations for treatment are made. The INA is carried out by a suitably qualified and experienced person who will meet with the injured claimant and their family to assess their needs. Recommendations might include therapies such as physiotherapy, modifications to the injured person’s home, aids and equipment or changes to the workplace to ensure that they can continue to work. The assessor will set out the cost of obtaining their recommendations privately. There will then usually be a further discussion between the injured person’s solicitors and the compensator about what aspects the compensator will fund and the practical arrangements.
The Rehabilitation Code operates independently of the position of the claim on liability. By agreeing to follow the code and provide funding, the compensator is not admitting liability for the injuries and if the claimant does not ultimately succeed in their claim, the compensator will not recoup the costs incurred.
Charlene King, associate in the personal injury team at Penningtons Manches Cooper, comments: “We recognise that the effects of serious injury can be life-changing and potentially permanent, in some cases requiring long-term and specialist support. By far the most positive aspect of The Rehabilitation Code is that the injured person is placed at the centre of the process. They can have early, free access to the care and treatment needed to make a swift recovery, and can rest assured that both sides are working together to ensure this. There is no doubt that the code has had an enormous impact on the recovery of accident victims, and has now become an integral part of the early claims process.”