Is the UK the Whiplash Capital of the World?

In the UK, every year thousands suffer from whiplash injuries. Yet the media reports that too many of these injuries culminate in fraudulent claims. This can mean higher premiums for motorists but is it fair to say we’re the ‘Whiplash Capital?’.

whiplash claim in prestonA recent parliamentary inquiry reopened the debate on the state of the UK’s compensation claims industry. Some phrases recently suggested that the UK has a higher than average number of whiplash claims. Therefore, we should earn the dubious whiplash capital title…

Bogus whiplash claims often mean higher insurance premiums. Yet recently released data from the Department of Work and Pension’s Compensation Recovery Unit (CRU) show that the volume of whiplash claims fell year on year since 2011.

What then is the cause in the rise of insurance premiums in the same period? Unfortunately, despite bogus claims, many people involved in compensation claims for this type of injury are indeed making genuine claims. Many people suggest the rise in premium is simply the aim of the insurance industry.

The Association of British Insurers report that these dodgy claims cost the general motorist approximately £90 a year extra on car insurance. Last week, a parliamentary inquiry heard that nearly 80 per cent of all personal-injury claims in the UK are evidently whiplash-type claims. From this, one can sadly deduce that whiplash injury is either open to fraudulent abuse or it is simply all too common in the UK. That almost 50% of these claims are apparently fabricated, exaggerated, or misrepresented is of course depressingly stark.

Indeed, many of these type claims culminate is a relatively quick settlement by insurance companies. This habit was highlighted by The Law Society 3 years ago in a campaign called ‘don’t get mugged’. The eponymous target was of course insurers. The Law Society gave advice that accident victims all too easily turn to an insurer’s initial offer despite solicitors offering on average 2-3 times more compensation.

Ironically using a professional solicitor to make a claim is probably more likely to weed out the fraudulent claims. This is perhaps why those bent on fraud use insurers for a quick £500 settlement. However, Liz Truss, the Justice Secretary recently said in The Telegraph that whiplash claims were ‘epidemic’.

She also maintains to introduce new legislation to ban minor claims or to cap payments at £425.

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