More robust medical assessment of whiplash claims announced

Published: 24/10/2013

The Government has announced a new set of measures designed at bringing down the cost of driving including a further attempt to stop fraudulent whiplash claims.

Whiplash claims have come under significant scrutiny in recent years with many citing them as the primary cause of rising insurance premiums.

There have already been many attempts to prevent fraudulent claimants pursuing compensation for whiplash, most notably the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders (LASPO) Act which included the banning of referral fees.

Under these latest plans independent medical panels will be set up to identify exaggerated and fraudulent whiplash claims.

Kevin Smith, Personal Injury Solicitor at Goldsmith Williams, comments:

“We are fully behind the government’s aim to extinguish fraudulent whiplash claims from the personal injury industry, providing it does not come at the expense of genuine accident victims.

“While there is undeniably a small subset of road users who look to use road traffic accidents purely for monetary gain, it is important to see the true picture and not that often pushed by the government and insurance industry. The number of whiplash claims dropped considerably by almost 60,000 between 2011/12 and 2012/13. In fact whiplash claims are now at their lowest number in four years.

“One of the main problems with whiplash, and perhaps one of the reasons it is often the go-to scapegoat, has always been the difficulty in its diagnosis. We therefore hope the proposed medical expert panels will be able to provide clarity on this often debilitating injury.”

Whiplash 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.

Additional measures to reduce motoring costs include freezing the cost for MoT test until 2015 as well as piloting fuel comparison signs on major roads.

Content correct at time of publication

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