Personal injury news roundup: 7 days ended 29 July 2014:
You might think it would have never happened, but it has: personal injury lawyers have joined forces with the Government to protest car insurance providers.
I can’t think of any more strange bedfellows than the personal injury solicitor community and the Government, especially since the latter is always so concerned with so-called ‘ambulance chasing’ lawyers profiteering off the backs of the injured by coercing Brits into bringing personal injury claims. For years, it’s been the insurers and the Government facing off against lawyers, pointing accusatory fingers at the lowly solicitor for driving up premium prices because there are so many spurious claims being made – especially whiplash claims.
However, the Government left the insurance community in a heartbeat after insurers have come up with a truly hare-brained scheme to curtail claims fraud. The largest car insurance provider in the UK, Aviva, recently proposed changing the industry-wide standard for whiplash claims: instead of offering personal injury compensation awards in cash, Aviva said that the whiplash fraud problem could be eradicated overnight by simply refusing to supply any cash to claimants but instead simply pay for their rehabilitation.
On the face of it the idea might seem like a sound one but think about it: what happens to anyone and everyone who have legitimate claims? Whiplash is incredibly painful, especially if you’ve got a bad case, and for the most part rehabilitation doesn’t really speed recovery. If you’re suffering from whiplash you could be stuck not being able to do anything because of the pain – and that means you could miss work for more than a few days or even a month or so. If you eliminate cash compensation, what are these injured to do?
No, the better idea – and one that the Government is keen on implementing with the personal injury sector’s blessing no less – is to instead require anyone who wants to make a whiplash claim to see a medical professional for an evaluation. This has its own set of issues of course, especially considering how there are few actual quantifiable things a doctor can point to as evidence of whiplash, but it’s a far sight better than just shutting everyone down completely.