Weekly whiplash news review: 7 days ended 26 Sept 2012:
This week saw a discussion of the dangers of road traffic accidents that could lead to whiplash injury – and how doctors want the government to step in to reduce the number of whiplash claims.
New research has shown that more than six out of every 10 UK motorists are at increased risk of injury by having the head restraints in their vehicles in the wrong position, even though evidence shows that new vehicles are consistently safer than older ones as car manufacturers strive to improve safety standards with each new model year. These research findings have led to warnings issued to motorists to ensure that their head restraint is positioned properly – level with the top of the head – in order to provide the best protection for neck injuries.
However, nearly three out of every four doctors recently revealed that they suspect a vast majority of their patients are exaggerating their injuries in order to make the personal injury compensation awards from their whiplash claims larger. The last three years have seen whiplash injury claims increase by nearly a third, even as accident figures have dropped by approximately 16 per cent.
Not only do nearly three quarters of all doctors feel their patients are exaggerating their injuries, nearly nine out of every ten would prefer to see the Government step in when it comes to whiplash claims, according to AXA, the car insurer that conducted the research. AXA found that 88 per cent of survey respondents feel that there is a dire need for new measures to be set in place by the Government to curb whiplash claims.
Personal injury claims are of course big business in the UK, especially as claims management companies will spend inordinate amounts of time and money on cold-calling prospective customers or sending them a steady stream of unsolicited emails or text messages with an eye towards convincing them to bring a personal injury claim against the insurer of the driver that injured them in a road traffic accident – as long as the claims management firm gets its cut of the profit, of course. Not only that, but many of these claims management companies even charge their customers up front, unlike a no win no fee personal injury lawyer, who will not accept any form of payment unless a claimant prevails in their case against the defendant.