Insurers call to scrap whiplash claims

Published: 28/03/2014

The Association of British Insurers has stunned the personal injury industry by suggesting whiplash compensation could be stopped altogether.

James Dalton, Head of Motor and Liability for the Association of British Insurers (ABI), is calling for a ‘public policy debate’ on the payout of whiplash, advocating for insurers to ‘pay directly just for treatment’.

Not wanting to stop there he has also questioned the ‘value of solicitors in low-value cases’ such as whiplash.

Personal injury solicitor, Kevin Smith, wants everyone to take a step back and consider what such a move could have on the injured:

“Mr Dalton describes whiplash injuries as ‘low-value, low-impact and very minor’; I think the genuine victims of whiplash would disagree.

“While there are undoubtedly fraudsters trying to cash in, they are a small minority. There remains a significant number of accident victims who have had their lives disrupted as a result of whiplash. It can be a very debilitating injury that can last months or even years. Sufferers often find it uncomfortable to sit or stand for a long period of time. Depending on their type of job, this can then impact on their ability to work. It is these people who will end up suffering.”

Commenting on the ABI suggestion that solicitors have no real part to play in low-value claims, Kevin again questions the implications this could have on the claimant:

“It just feels like the insurance industry is determined to squeeze solicitors out of the industry and potentially try to minimise the amount of compensation paid out to accident victims. Research has shown that when insurers deal directly with claimants the compensation payouts are often significantly less than what a solicitor, and the courts, would consider reasonable. They seem to have forgotten about the phrase ‘access to justice’ ”

Content correct at time of publication

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