Section 5.1 Expert Opinion

Relates to clause 8.23(a), 8.23(b), 8.23(c), 8.23(g), and 8.23(h)

It is essential that authorised health practitioners provide high quality reports that are accurate, comprehensible, and easy to read. Reports should also clearly explain medical terminology and concepts. Having high quality reports minimises the need for multiple opinions and examinations, thereby improving the experience of the injured person, reducing claim lifecycles and cost to the scheme.

As expert witnesses, authorised health practitioners must comply with the Expert Witness Code of Conduct outlined in Part 7 of the Motor Accident Guidelines and Schedule 7 of the Uniform Civil Procedure Rules 2005. The Codes reinforce that an expert witness has an overriding duty to assist the DRS and the Courts impartially. The Codes also confirm that an expert witness is not an advocate for a party and must identify if an issue falls outside the expert’s field of expertise.

As part of the consultation undertaken in developing the criteria for authorised health practitioners, SIRA stakeholders stressed the importance of good quality, impartial expert opinion, and that practitioners understood the importance of these requirements prior to being appointed.