The onslaught against people who have suffered whiplash related injuries after being involved in car accidents is set to continue. The Government have announced further restrictions aimed at the medical reporting fee structure used in assessing how much a claimant’s settlement should be when they make a claim for whiplash injury compensation.
The Government are 100% in bed with the insurance industry who have been hugely successful in peddling the compensation culture myth, and it seems that they don’t really care about hearing the full story from all sides. They simply want to make it harder for whiplash victims to pursue claims for compensation and make it less attractive financially. The Government have an openly stated desire to reduce the amount of whiplash claims and the costs that liable insurers will face for those that do succeed. The stance of the Government basically means they are insinuating that claimants of whiplash compensation are cheats and looking for a quick buck. Their desire to further restrict whiplash victims access to justice is unfair and based on reason that does not stand up to scrutiny.
The honest (vast) majority
From the experience gained by myself, my colleagues and the specialist solicitors that I have worked with during the last 15 years, the Government’s message couldn’t be further from the truth. Of course, there have been very public exposures of people attempting to fraudulently claim compensation for whiplash and the well publicised ‘cash for crash’ multi-occupant car accident scams attempted against the insurance sector. All of us within the compliant regulated personal injury sector condemn fraud and work as hard as possible to make sure that the claimants we support and assist are genuine and reliable, and that fraudulent claims are stamped out.
Honest claimants of whiplash compensation should be treated with respect, as the injury is no joke. I should add that I suffered a very serious whiplash injury in 1998 in a non-fault accident. It was at high speed, but I have never fully recovered and continue to notice related problems even 16 years later.
There is no stated desire to end peoples right to claim compensation for whiplash injuries, but given the continued efforts of the insurance lobby and their friends in Government, it is only reasonable that those of us working within the industry who see the effects that whiplash injuries can have on peoples lives are worried that such a move will follow.
The insurance sector bandy figures around about how much fraudulent whiplash claims add to each insurance policy – with figures of £90+ stated. These figures catch the eye of the press and media and they happily publish them without question. All this does is undermine claimants pursuing whiplash claims and leads people to question the honesty of all claimants, which is unfair and disproportionate given the small level of proven fraud.
One is left wondering how the insurance industry know that fraud is so expensive to all of us? If they know a claim is fraudulent, why are they paying compensation? The recent changes to the personal injury industry after April 2013 were supposed to reduce fraud and lead to cheaper premiums. Have you noticed a drop in your premium? I haven’t!