Whiplash, a made up injury?

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Our old mate Jack Straw has been at it again on his solo mission to discredit all Road Traffic Accident victims who claim compensation for whiplash injuries.

Once again, Straw made his ridiculous and sweeping generalisation comments at a ‘whiplash seminar’ and contrary to medical evidence used in thousands of historic whiplash claims, has tried to claim that the amount of whiplash claims is ridiculous and unrealistic. He claims that whiplash is only an invention of the human imagination and further belittles the pain and suffering of many genuine victims by stating that whiplash is an undiagnosable injury except by practitioners employed by claims management companies. In all honesty, we’re sure some people have claimed for whiplash when they haven’t been injured. There will always be liars and cheats – just like within the benefits system – it’s fraud and should be punished as such whenever a fraudulent claimant is caught (they have been by the way in the past). However, to claim that all whiplash victims are making it up is a unwarranted and coming from a man like Straw, is a little rich.

The fact that the occasional disability benefits claimant is caught on video playing football or riding in a motocross race and rightly hauled through the courts doesn’t mean that we stop anyone claiming disability benefits does it? You don’t punish the majority on behalf of the few either, so why should the genuine victims of whiplash (and I am one after a nasty Road Traffic Accident in 1998) be refused access to whiplash compensation because the odd cheat lies and makes a fraudulent claim?

Straw goes on to say that Spain has a rate of 30% of claims involving whiplash and that in the UK it’s getting on for 80%. So what does that mean? It means nothing without knowing the context of the statistic does it. Do we know what entitles a claim for whiplash in Spain or what entitles a claim for whiplash in the UK? Could it be that Spanish insurance doesn’t often cover injury claims? Who knows. It’s a useful statistic for Straw and his cronies to spout off to further discredit the injured victims of whiplash, but it could well be misleading and dare I say it, full of spin? Also rather oddly, Straw makes the bold claim that in other countries, there is a policy that unless a claimant has a diagnosable injury that the insurers will not pay any compensation… Err? Isn’t that the case here Mr. Straw? I’ve worked in Personal Injury for 10+ years and every client I’ve ever worked with has had to provide medical records proving treatment and attendance and every Insurer has requested a medical expert witness report to verify the injury… Seems to me that that provides a diagnosed injury! Now Straw will claim that the Doctor only diagnosed the injury because they are in the pay of ‘Claims Management Companies’… Is he really insinuating that eminent esteemed professional medics are willing to lie for a few quid? So, in essence Mr. Straw isn’t really saying that whiplash doesn’t exist, he is saying Doctors are liars for money. It is absolutely ridiculous and offensive to Doctors. Mr. Straw is a highly qualified legal professional. Is it fair to say he would lie for me if I offered him a couple of hundred pounds? No!

Thankfully, as well as making a stupid and inept attempt to discredit whiplash victims, Straw completely contradicted himself when he admitted that feedback from medical professionals had been positive and that studies are underway with a view towards taking a more objective stance on whiplash. “Serious institutions have given me a lot of advice about this; a lot of study has been done about whiplash and more objective methods to determine whether people have suffered musculo-skeletal damage.”
So, Mr. Straw your saying that medical professionals have stated that whiplash exists and isn’t made up, but that there needs to be a more standardised way of diagnosing the condition? That’s somewhat different to saying its all made up and every claimant is a blagger isn’t it?

Back to the drawing board eh Mr. Straw?

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