Britain has gained the dubious honour of being branded the ‘Whiplash Capital of Europe’; a reference to the enormous amount of personal injury claims submitted for the complaint.
The ABI recently called on the coalition to act against the pain in the neck personal injury compensation culture which is so prevalent in the UK. According to the Association’s data, almost 1,200 claims are made every day for whiplash and this costs the insurance industry approximately £2 billion in costs every year.
75% of all accident claims are for whiplash, the ABI reports, and staged accidents and claims management company’s activities are largely responsible. These figures reflect a significant problem with insurance fraud.
James Dalton, the assistant director for motor and liability at ABI, said that despite the figures, he doubts that Brits have weaker necks than people in other parts of Europe. Whiplash can be hard to diagnose and it’s easy to fake, making it a fraudsters dream.
The Association has suggested a number of ways the government could tackle the problem. It wants to see public awareness raised and the development of a more authoritative process for the diagnosis of whiplash. Furthermore, the coalition should reform civil justice legislation to make it harder for fraudsters to hire personal injury solicitors to represent them.
Dalton went on to say that we are ill-equipped to identify and treat whiplash (check out whiplashclaim.org.uk for existing whiplash treatments). The personal injury compensation system in the UK is too slow to pay fair awards and offer rehabilitation to claimants who are genuine and yet the compensation system encourages fraud. This has to change, he finished off by saying.