Could the recently released figures from the Department for Transport concerning the number of serious injuries and deaths on UK roads be masking a more serious problem?
The government says that car accident claims figures indicate that there were just over 1,900 deaths on British roads in 2011, an increase of 51 from 2010’s fatality figure of 1,850. The number of serious injuries increased as well, hitting 25,023, an increase of 513 from the previous year.
But the data only comes from documented cases. Undocumented injuries – which are, of course, not reported to police or insurance companies – could put these injury figures much, much higher.
Including whiplash injuries, there were 203,950 injuries in 2010, according to the Department for Transport. However, some estimates say there could be nearly 700,000 actual injuries occurring, many of which could be motorists who have to be behind the wheel several hours a day for business reasons.
The economy loses untold millions of pounds a year due to employees missing work as a result of road traffic accidents, whether they go reported or unreported. Personal injury claims for whiplash can only do so much, but insurers fear that if more claims are made against them, premiums will have to rocket even higher in order for these insurance companies to cover their costs.
However, there is some hope on the horizon, as next year will see success fees from personal injury lawyers being paid from a winning claimant’s compensation award instead of from losing defendants’ pockets. This could spell blessed relief for insurers and also motorists alike, as there are predictions that rates will sink downwards as insurers’ costs dwindle as well.