Won’t anyone take the blame for whiplash injuries?

Right, I’ve absolutely had it with this he-said she-said business when it comes to who’s responsible for costly whiplash injury claims in the UK.

When it comes to finding out who’s truly responsible for who’s running up our premium prices, insurers point the finger at personal injury solicitors, while lawyers turn around and say it’s the insurance industry. Can they both be right?

Insurance providers such as Aviva say that we could all benefit from around £60 in premium cuts if the whiplash claim system in the UK would just be overhauled. Aviva says that sending claims to insurers directly – instead of using a third party to handle their road traffic accident claim like a claims management company or a solicitor firm – would be just fine and dandy with the insurance industry, cutting out the middleman an saving on costs all around.

Of course, the nation’s legal experts would rather take a stick in the eye than have this happen, as doing so would end up leaving victims with seriously stripped-back access to justice and let insurers run roughshod over claimants. The Association of Personal Injury Lawyers in particular say that you’re doing nothing but encouraging conflicts of interest when you remove third parties from the equation – and that it’s the insurers themselves that are responsible for such ridiculous costs when it comes to dealing with whipash.

Whatever side you come down on, it’s no great secret that you and I are all paying through the nose because whiplash injuries are so expensive. About 8 out of every 10 car accident claims involve whiplash, and Aviva would have you believe that it’s the massive costs incurred in paying lawyers that are behind this.

Of course, Aviva leaves off the whole business about selling on details of their customers to law firms in a bid to make a few extra quid, a process called ‘accepting referral fees.’ Maybe if the insurance industry wouldn’t sell each other out so damn much we wouldn’t be in this problem to begin with, but no – it’s obviously the lawyers’ fault for doing their job.

Truth be told, lawyers do charge an arm and a leg for their services, and insurance companies do bear the brunt of these costs. However, new legislation will change this soon by not just banning referral fees but by forcing lawyers to charge their success fees to their successful clients rather than the losing defendants, so hopefully these changes will help everyone who really matters – and that isn’t insurers or lawyers but the poor bastards that end up suffering from painful and debilitating whiplash injury!

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