Weekly whiplash news review: 7 days ended 12 Dec 2012:
It may become much more difficult to pursue an accident claim for whiplash injury in the future, thanks to new rules proposed by the government to curb fraud.
Car insurance fraud has been so rampant when it comes to making spurious personal injury claims against insurers that every car insurance policy in the UK is higher by £90, says the Association of British Insurers. Whiplash claims fraud is a major contributor to this figure, and the government may be proposing new legislation to help curb this growing criminal epidemic.
The lion’s share of whiplash claims may be fraudulent, according to the ABI. Association spokesman, Malcolm Tarling, remarked that whiplash fraud may be the first choice when it comes to criminal activity for altogether too many scammers – especially with something like 1,500 whiplash claims being made every week. While Mr Tarling did say that there are of course genuine instances of neck injury caused by a road traffic accident, the ABI was adamant in insisting that many of these are exaggerated claims – or wholly fabricated.
Insurance providers will often settle a whiplash claim out of court instead of fighting a claim, simply because it’s actually less expensive to do so. The difficulty in establishing whether whiplash injury exists from a medical standpoint is quite high, Mr Tarling added, something that has been in the forefront of the minds of scammers that see a whiplash case as easy money.
However, the government is in the midst of discussions regarding how personal injury compensation law can be changed in order to make it harder for fraudsters to operate. One such tactic towards that goal would be to raise the bar when it comes to the speed threshold for whiplash injury, making it impossible to bring a claim if a collision occurred at under a certain speed, whilst other recommendations have been to institute more rigorous medical tests to determine whether or not whiplash injury has actually occurred to a claimant.
However, until then the most effective way to combat whiplash fraud remains investigative efforts by the police in conjunction with the insurance industry, who have allied themselves in an effort to root out criminal gangs specialising in ‘crash for cash’ fraud schemes.