Further changes to whiplash claims looming

Published: 07/02/2014

The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) has confirmed that a working group will begin the process of creating medical panels to assess whiplash injury claims this month.

The news is not new; medical panels were a ‘key element’ of the government’s aim to reduce the number of whiplash claims with Justice Secretary, Chris Grayling, stating his intention to ‘end the practice’ of making offers to settle claims without requiring a medical.

It is expected that, once the panels are established, only medical reports obtained by accredited examiners will be accepted as evidence in whiplash claims.

The working group will comprise of claimant and defendant lawyers, insurers, The Law Society and British Medical Association and is expected to submit its proposals for the medical panels by July. The ultimate aim is for whiplash panels to be up and running by the autumn.

Adele Whittle, Head of Personal Injury at Goldsmith Williams Solicitors, comments:

“Whiplash panels are the latest step to try and reduce fraudulent claims from the personal injury industry. We are fully supportive of this overarching aim. However given the complexity surrounding the diagnosis of whiplash injuries we hope these panels do not jeopardise genuine accident victims’ chances of recovering compensation.”

Whiplash is the most common injury sustained in road traffic accidents and is caused by a vigorous jolt of the head. Such a sudden and involuntary movement, typically occurring when a vehicle has been hit from behind, can damage the ligaments and tendons in the neck.

Many sufferers complain of headaches and stiffness in their neck, head and shoulders. They often find it uncomfortable to sit or stand still for a long period of time.

Whiplash can be a very debilitating injury which can last several months. The severity of the injury can depend on the weight and speed of the cars involved, the angle of the impact and the position of the seats.

Content correct at time of publication

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