What is the 2007 Rehabilitation Code?

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The 2007 Rehabilitation Code is an approved framework for injury claims. It enables claimants, their representatives, defendants and insurers to work together towards the best possible medical, social and psychological outcome for the claimant.

This involves ensuring the injured person receives necessary treatment as soon as possible, and for as long as both parties deem appropriate. As such, the claimant's quality of life, as well as their earning capacity, is given high priority.

Although the Code is voluntary, the Court Pre-action Protocol requires that its use should be considered for all types of personal injury claims.

The Code is published by the Rehabilitation Working Party with representatives from the Independent Underwriting Association, the Association of British Insurers, Lloyd's, primary insurers, legal groups, care providers and the NHS.

What are the main features of the Code?

The Code simplifies the original version, first published in 1999. The important features of the 2007 Rehabilitation Code require that:

  1. The claimant is made the focus of the process
  2. The claimant's representative and the compensator work together to address the claimant's needs, as early as possible
  3. Rehabilitation is seen as a priority, even above liability
  4. Rehabilitation needs are assessed by those with the necessary qualifications, skills and experience
  5. The choice of rehabilitation assessor should be mutually agreed by the claimant's solicitor and compensator where possible
  6. Initial assessments should be carried out by phone or in-person according to type as stipulated in the Code
  7. The claimant is not required to undergo treatment that is seen as unreasonable
  8. The compensator will pay for the assessment, and explain any refusal for any recommended rehabilitation
  9. The initial rehabilitation process is outside the litigation process
  10. The compensator will not seek to recover costs even if the claim later fails in whole or in part

What are the required time-scales?

Responsibility lies first with both the claimant's solicitor and the defendant or their insurer (the compensator) who must separately consider the rehabilitation needs of the claimant from the earliest opportunity.

If the rehabilitation needs are communicated first by the compensator, the claimant's solicitor must consider it immediately with the claimant. If the claimant communicates first, the compensator has 21 days to respond.

Parties must then consider the choice of assessor and object to any chosen assessor within 21 days of notification. The assessment must then occur within 14 days of the referral letter. Once the assessment has taken place, the assessor must provide reports at the same time to both parties.

The compensator must then pay for the report within 28 days of receipt, and then practically respond to recommendations to claimant's solicitor within 21 days of receiving the report.

Who does the Code apply to?

Any person who has been injured as the result of an accident which was not their fault will be dealt with within the approved framework of the Code.

Currently there are calls to amend the 2007 version, with recommendations to split it into three areas - high, mid-range and low - based on the severity of the claim.

Recommendations have also been made to include closer liaison with the NHS and for a document to be created which advises all parties of the expected roles of all involved.

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Howard Willis, Personal injury solicitor

Howard Willis, Personal injury solicitor