Whiplash reforms: penalise the majority for the actions of the few?
The ‘whiplash reforms’ announced by the Government in the 2015 Autumn Statement will remove the right of injured people to claim compensation for ‘minor’ whiplash injuries. The insurance industry states that whiplash reforms are necessary to combat whiplash claim fraud. The problem is, the ‘fraud’ figures quoted by insurers are often misrepresented.
Is whiplash fraud really a problem? Is whiplash fraud really endemic? Despite the insurance industry claims that whiplash fraud is a major problem, only tiny percentage of claimants are ever prosecuted for fraud. Those fraudsters that are prosecuted make headline news whilst, unsurprisingly, the experiences of the vast majority of genuinely injured claimants goes unnoticed.
In a comment given to The Brief Jonathan Wheeler, President of the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers, has explained how motor insurance fraud is routinely misrepresented by the insurance industry:
“In 2012, the Association of British Insurers said that 7 per cent of motor claims were fraudulent. This figure was repeated by the government the following year. Yet the association’s own statistics – which can be purchased for a few hundred pounds – clearly show that the figure includes both proven and what it calls “suspected” fraud, in other words, what is thought to be fraud but cannot be proved as fraud. It has long been the case in our justice system that one is innocent until proved guilty.
When the ABI separated the two figures in 2014 it became clear that proved fraud (even on its figures) was only 0.25 per cent of all motor claims. That includes policyholders over-egging their own claims or making false declarations in applications for insurance.
Personal injury fraud is a fraction of that figure, and fraudulent whiplash claims are a fraction of that. Nobody knows for certain the size of the fraction because there are no reliable figures for personal injury fraud.”
Penalise the majority of law-abiding drivers for the actions of the fraudulent few?
It is compulsory for drivers to hold third party liability insurance: to ensure that those who, through no fault of their own, suffer damage and injury in a road accident can receive recompense.
The proposed whiplash reforms, which are expected to be introduced in 2017, will remove the right of thousands of people to be compensated, all in the name of combating what is actually a tiny percentage of fraudulent claims.
Is it right that the vast majority of genuine claimants are penalised to combat the actions of the fraudulent few?
Compensation for a late train …. but not for injury?
In an age when commuters are allowed to claim compensation when their plane or train is late, is it right that people who suffer a genuine injury, through the actions of a negligent, dangerous or drunk driver, are prevented from exercising their right to claim?