Whiplash capital of the world?
Wolferstans has welcomed a parliamentary report on whiplash claims. The conclusions from the report can be viewed here:
The Transport Select Committee focussed on a number of key questions including whether the UK is the ‘whiplash capital of the world’, as argued by the government, and considered what can be done about fraudulent claims if they are indeed as prevalent as the insurance industry would have us believe.
The Government and Ministry of Justice has, to date, entirely accepted the views of the insurance industry and have therefore proposed raising the small-claims limit for personal injury claims to £5,000 (from its existing level of £1,000). The Committee does not support this as it recognises that this would leave people with genuine injuries having to represent themselves at Court where they would find themselves face to face with Solicitors or Barristers for the insurer. Hardly a level playing field.
The report calls upon the Government to stop allowing the insurance industry to have such unopposed influence and to recognise that whiplash claims are, on the whole, a very real injury which can dramatically affect people’s lives.
At Wolferstans, we act for many people who have suffered from a whiplash injury meaning that we understand its consequences in terms of pain and also lost earnings as well as other costs such as prescriptions. Fortunately, the majority of people will make a complete recovery from a whiplash injury but some will have permanent symptoms.
The Committee recognises that insurers have paid a large part in the increase in the number of claims as they often compensate individuals at an early stage, sometimes within hours of an accident, when there is no medical evidence to show that an injury has even been suffered. This is called third party capture – a process that many insurers will adopt as they think that they can settle claims cheaply (because the injured person does not know what they should get or what they can claim for) and also without having to pay legal fees.
Just because the committee has made these recommendations does not mean that the Government will take any notice. A critical point will come in early autumn 2013 when the Ministry of Justice responds formally to the Committee’s report and, in doing so, makes clear its own definite proposals for reform.
Here at Wolferstans we are extremely pleased that the injured person’s (and lawyer’s!) views have finally been acknowledged. We will wait and see whether the Government listens!
If you have been injured in a road traffic or any other accident you are entitled to seek legal advice before accepting any payment from the defendant’s insurer.
Wolferstans will ensure that you are properly diagnosed and have access to the treatment you need such as physiotherapy. We will also advise as to what financial losses can be claimed so that you are not left out of pocket.
If you would like advice please contact Charlotte Burt on 01752 292252 for a free, no obligation discussion.