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Group publishes revised U.K. rehabilitation code


LONDON— A revised version of a rehabilitation code for insurers and lawyers, which aims to promote the role of rehabilitation in the claims process, was launched Monday.

The voluntary code is a framework for injury claims within which claimant representatives and compensators — such as insurers — can work together to include rehabilitation in the claims process.

The code was first published in 1999 by a working party made up of representatives from the London-based International Underwriting Assn. and the Assn. of British Insurers, among others.

The revised edition was drawn up by a group chaired by Ian Walker, former president of the London-based Assn. of Personal Injury Lawyers. It aims to simplify the original version, according to the working group, while at the same time underlining its principles.

One major change to the code is a timetable setting out key stages within the process of care. An assessor's response is now expected within 14 days following an initial meeting with the claimant. Compensators should reply within 21 days where rehabilitation is recommended.

The new code also states that any rehabilitation paid for by insurers, during the litigation period, will be nonrefundable should the claim prove to be unsuccessful in whole or part. The revised edition also stresses the need for claimants' solicitors to contact insurance companies as early as possible following injury.

"The new code is a good step forward which puts the claimant at the heart of the process, which is what we all want to see," said Denise Kitchener, chief executive of the Assn. of Personal Injury Lawyers. "It is one part of an overall process, which includes wider reforms to rehabilitation laws, and overall it is an excellent package," she said.