The Government has recently been considering the topic of whiplash claims in great detail. There seems to be a growing belief that whiplash is not a ‘real’ injury and that there is an increase in fraudulent claims being made.
The Government claims that the UK has become the ‘whiplash capital of the world’, but is this really true?
Government figures show that although there has been a rise in claims for personal injury caused by road traffic accidents from 2008 to 2012, there was a decrease in claims in the year 2012/2013. In addition the number of whiplash claims has in fact decreased and in the year 2012/2013 there were less reported cases of whiplash than in any of the preceding 4 years.
The Government is proposing further reforms which they believe will reduce the number of whiplash claims, including:-
• Setting up designated medical panels to consider the diagnosis of a whiplash injury.
• Increasing the small claims limit for whiplash and/or injuries following a road traffic accident from £1000 to £5000.
A designated medical panel may in principle be a good idea. However the medical practitioners on the panel must be aware that each individual injured person is different and relevant medical records and details of each individual accident must be considered when providing an opinion.
However, by increasing the small claims limit the Government will be restricting an injured person’s access to justice. The small claims court is designed for ordinary people to represent themselves rather than using a solicitor. A recent survey by APIL showed that 70% of people would not want to pursue a whiplash claim without the help of an independent solicitor. This means many genuinely injured people would be prevented or put off from making a claim.
Whiplash Claims and Road Traffic Accident Compensation
We are members of APIL (the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers), who are fighting against the proposed reforms for whiplash claims. Whilst all involved want to eliminate fraud in whiplash claims, this should not be at the cost of preventing people with a genuine claim having access to justice and receiving proper compensation for their injuries.
If you have been involved in a road accident and have sustained whiplash injuries, speak to one of our specialist solicitors about claiming compensation. Call free on 0800 612 7340 to speak to one of our whiplash claims solicitors. Remember, it is important to start your claim as soon as possible after your accident so we can prove your pain is in relation to the accident.
Freeclaim Solicitors. Specialists in whiplash claims and road accident compensation.
Published: 3rd January 2014
Author: Sarah Moore, Solicitor.