For some time now, the Insurance Industry and influential individuals won over by their lobbying activities have been decrying the virtues of the current Personal Injury/No Win No Fee system. Their particular early focus was concentrated on the Road Traffic Accident element of the Personal Injury Compensation market.
It’s oft been mooted by those opposed to insurers paying compensation, that claimants are far too easily able to ‘blag’ a claim. It’s been planted in the minds of the greater public that Personal Injury claimants are ripping Britain off and that they are responsible for the ridiculous premium increases forced upon us all by the Insurance sector. Once a few seemingly influential people say it or if the Insurance sector says it often enough, there will be sufficient belief in what is heard by the public to enable backdoor changes to be made that reduce individuals access to justice. And so it is, that the Insurance side lobbyists have managed to get away with saying that ‘whiplash’ as it is known doesn’t exist.
There is soon to be a conference of the great (and not so great) stakeholders are being hosted at a conference to discuss the issue. The goal of the insurers is that it will be made harder to claim for the equivalent of whiplash as there will be an agreed term and conditions laid out at which insurers will become liable. Generally speaking, whiplash will be deemed to have happened if an accident occurred above a certain speed – say 10mph and that injuries have to be confirmed by scans and x-rays etc. There is no overwhelming proof that whiplash injuries cannot be caused at low speed, although there is argument against it.
My company is happy to debate and see fair changes to ensure that insurers don’t get conned or ripped off – we’re a business too and wouldn’t stand for it, so why should they? – but we’re far from happy that all claimants have now been tarred with the same brush and will have to endure a far more time consuming and stressful claims process at a time where they are often very vulnerable.
Have your say on the issue of claims and the whole access to justice issue. It’s fair to say that there will undoubtedly be changes to the way access to justice is worked out and we worry that they could work out in a bad way. However, nothing has been decided yet so contact your MP or email us and we’ll pass on your comments.
If we simply let those who ultimately pay out compensation (the insurers) get away with narrowing the gateway in to a claim, thus excluding those with legitimate claims from getting access to justice, where does it stop?
Whiplash is the first in the line for an attack, will the rights of an employee injured through the negligent management of their employer be next?