Weekly whiplash news review: 7 days ended 19 dec 2012:
A major UK motoring organization has welcomed the Government’s plans to consult on new whiplash injury fraud prevention guidelines.
The AA, which is a car insurance broker in its own right, also keeps track of insurance costs on a quarterly basis and says that the last four years has seen the price of the average comprehensive policy double. Much of these costs originate from spurious car accident claims, many of which are for whiplash injury – and around £90 of every premium comes directly as a result of the £2 billion annual bill created by whiplash claims being split up across the entirety of the nation’s motorists.
AA Insurance director, Simon Douglas, remarked this week that one of the most significant factors contributing to the massive increases to both the value and cost of personal injury claims is most assuredly high instances of fraud, especially since the number of road traffic accidents occurring on roadways in the UK has been on the decline by a significant margin. In fact, unless the average British driver’s neck is weaker than the necks of other drivers in Europe, there’s not really any other viable explanation for the sharp uptick in claims activity.
It’s difficult to detect whiplash injury on scans or X-rays, which makes it even more of a difficulty to defend against whiplash claims. It’s sometimes more cost-effective to simply settle a whiplash case than it is to defend one, as the legal costs may actually end up being more than what the payout would have been if the claimant was successful, leaving insurers out of pocket either way – with their hands tied, the best an insurance company can do is to choose the lesser and least expensive of the two evils, it seems.
Of course, an even bigger problem has been the advent of organised criminal gangs getting in on the action, said Mr Douglas. Insurers are losing millions of pounds on non-existent or fraudulent injuries caused by these ‘crash for cash’ operations, he added, which is why it is so important for the government to crack down on these organised gangs yet still make sure that those who actually do suffer legitimate injury are given their day in court and earn the personal injury compensation they deserve.