Personal injury lawyers have motor insurers running scared

Personal injury news roundup: 7 days ended 29 April 2014:

If there’s one particular sector that loathes and abhors personal injury solicitors more than any other, it’s the motor insurance industry.

In fact, there was not just one major news story this week but two that illustrated exactly how much car insurance companies fear the power of personal injury lawyers, especially those that specialise in car accident claims. First up is how major British insurer Aviva declared that – according to their own data, mind you – the number of fraudulent road traffic accident claims went up by nearly 20 per cent last year. Aviva didn’t come out and say that ‘ambulance chasing’ injury lawyers were to blame but instead said that there were organised fraudsters causing accidents to reap the benefits, though the inference was there that the personal injury claims sector had something to do with it.

Honestly I’m not surprised by this new report. Aviva is obviously in the business of making money, so it ¬†behooves them to try to shift the blame for poor performance on to anyone but themselves. I do doubt the accuracy of the research though, and that’s just because I know that you can use statistics to back up more or less any bollocks you’d like to say in order to make it look official and valid. It is nice to see that a major insurer isn’t immediately blaming lawyers for the trouble; while fraud can be and of course is a problem to some extent, I’m going to need corroborating evidence before I simply believe what the insurance industry has to say.

Of course other insurers take a different approach. One of the more popular ways they’re trying to curb accident claims is by offering incentives to their policyholders to collect evidence on car crashes, this time by slashing their premium prices by 10 per cent for anyone who agrees to have a dashboard camera fitted to their vehicle.

Now this is both a good idea and a bad idea for a number of reasons. It’s helpful to have real video footage of crashes in order to more accurately discern who indeed is responsible for a particular incident, but it’s also a bit suspect in that it’s just one more instance of the burgeoning surveillance state. I mean the number of CCTV cameras throughout the UK is positively sickening as it is, and now the average Brit is being exhorted to add to the glut of privacy-violating surveillance just to get the price of their car cover down by a few quid?

Yes, I know what some of you will say: if you have nothing to hide, what are you worried about? Well to these particular wags I say it doesn’t matter if I have anything to hide or not – I have a reasonable expectation of privacy and I don’t relish being on bloody camera every time I go down to the corner shop for a Cornetto.

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