Over past few years, there has been a rise in car accident claims in the UK, primarily from whiplash injuries. The apparent rise in accident claims has happened in spite of a decline in road accidents themselves and this has been a point of hot debate throughout the whole country for some 10 years. Car crashes are definitely on the decline but an increases in people seeking compensation depends on which metrics you study and some make more reliable claims than others. The whole business is quite the kerfuffle and the government feels the need to change the laws surrounding the way the legal system works with personal injury cases from traffic accidents, specifically gearing most of the changes towards whiplash and the diagnosis thereof. Companies such as My Compensation operate well within the Ministry of Justice guidelines but other claims companies may be affected by the changes. Many accident claim lawyers are concerned about how the legal system changes will affect their business.
Reliable Statistics on Car Crash Claims for Whiplash
While it’s interesting to see different metrics on car accident statistics from sources of varying degrees of credibility, a particularly interesting report has recently come to light. The Law Society Gazette (source) reported that lawyers are requesting a call for a rethink surrounding the way compensation for whiplash sought in car accident claims works. Statistics released by the government itself has shown that in 2011, the number of claims for whiplash from car accidents and other torts actually fell from the previous year. The Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL) re-published the figures from the years 2011 to 2012 which saw 547,405 accident claims for whiplash while there were 571,111 in the previous year. The accident claim drop represents 4.2% decline.
The APIL also commissioned an independent survey to go one step further in gathering data to further illustrate the current folly in the pending government changes. The survey showed that of all the people who sustained whiplash in accidents, 40% of them never even claimed compensation for it. In an interview, Karl Tonks, the president of the APIL, stated that he thought it was time to “inject some sanity” into the debate surrounding accident claims from whiplash. He went on to say that:
“The government appears to have been persuaded by the insurance industry that the answer to rising car insurance premiums lies in tackling whiplash claims” going on to point out the the baffling truth that “the government’s own figures show there has been a drop in these claims in the last year,”
The Pending Changes to Whiplash Diagnosis for Car Accident Claims
The government plans on implementing a new system of specialist medical reports by a chosen medical panel in order to better diagnose the elusive nature of whiplash injuries. Also to be changed is the limit of car accident claims allowed to be put through the Small Claims Court which will now be handle claims from £1,000 up to £5,000. This means that the government will essentially be taking away a chunk of business from personal injury lawyers.
Insurance Company’s Role in the Rising Traffic Accident Claims
A poll was carried out by a market research company named Canadean which showed that 1 in approximately 100 people suffered from whiplash injuries last year. Most of these were from traffic accidents. The results she showed that one in five people had suffered injury symptoms from whiplash for more than 12 months. The research also showed that those who suffered an injury in an accident were encourage to make a compensation claim by their insurance companies.
Tonk went on to state that instead of going around pointing the finger and everyone else, insurers really need to “stop and look in the mirror”. Tonk went on to state that the problem arises from the insurance companies paying out injury compensation without so much as asking for a medical report and it’s this practice which needs to come to an end. Furthermore, the insurance companies need to share the information that they get regarding accident claim fraudsters from their vehicle insurance clients. This might help lawyers identify them early on the claims process, thus helping bring a stop to the UK’s supposed compensation culture.
For those considering car accident claims, more information can be found the My Compensation http://www.my-compensation.co.uk. The article was by Jim Loxley