A lot of personal injury solicitors might have taken exception to Jack Straw describing whiplash as a condition of purely human imagination that was invented solely for profit.
The personal injury compensation culture in the UK is a hotly debated subject but Jack Straw really went to town last week when he complained that more than 1,200 personal injury claims were filed every day for whiplash injuries.
He went on to say that it was notoriously hard to diagnose whiplash and accused unscrupulous personal injury lawyers and claims management companies of paying third rate doctors to detect and report the condition.
Other countries restrict claims to instances where there has been a genuine injury, which is why the UK now sees a lot more whiplash claims than other nations. Mr Straw says there needs to be “clear objective evidence” of injury, adding that genuine claimants will not be disadvantaged by this requirement.
Leading whiplash clinicians have now called for a new consensus to tackle the whiplash culture and they aim to produce their recommendations at a conference to be held in November. They believe the government should adopt a fixed position on diagnosis, the process of claiming compensation and treatment and rehabilitation. The government, legal profession and insurance sector will also be given the opportunity to contribute their recommendations so that a balanced view of the problem, and possible solutions, can be obtained.
UK insurance companies now pay out almost £2 billion every year for whiplash claims and this has led to huge hikes in insurance premiums for everybody.