2012 report dispels common myths, clears way for debate

Weekly whiplash news review: 7 days ended 21 nov 2012:

This year’s whiplash injury report, published earlier this week, has sought fit to abolish common myths and establish a baseline for a ‘sensible’ debate.

Parliament was presented with the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers’ 2012 Whiplash Report in which the veracity of personal injury claims for whiplash were declared to be genuine. Karl Tonks, president of Apil, spoke at a reception for the House of Commons, remarking that the problem lies not in honest claimants but in fraudulent ones, calling for an all-around approach from all sides in order to eliminate fraud.

The research found that 8 of every 10 whiplash sufferers either underplay their neck injury symptoms or report them accurately. Moreover, an overwhelming 90 per cent of those that suspect they have whiplash seek out medical professionals in order to either rule out whiplash or to be diagnosed with the injury.

Apil also included a ten-point plan in the report that aims to rid the personal injury compensation system of fraudulent claims alongside figures concerning how long whiplash symptoms tend to last, the number of individuals who go on to actually make successful claims for injury, and how the insurance industry has approached the dilemma. Detailed information on how improved car designs and measures to reduce road congestion can help to reduce road traffic accidents that lead to bodily injury.

Mr Tonks also spoke at the reception on how possible changes to health and safety laws could send the wrong message to the nation’s employers. Changing these regulations could lead to employees having their lives put at risk inadvertently, especially if employers misinterpret these new health and safety changes as a lessening in value of the safety of their workers.

The Apil president discussed at length how personal injury compensation awards often do not meet the care needs of those facing debilitating injuries. Increasing compensation awards will shift the burden from the government to the person who caused the injury, Mr Tonks added, as the state will no longer have to pick up the costs of providing care for an injured person who cannot do so themselves.

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