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Validation of whiplash claims a step in the right direction

April 16, 2012

News that the Government is going to bring in so called “whiplash experts” to diagnose and therefore validate claims for whiplash injuries could be a step in the right direction.

This revelation followed a cabinet meeting, which discussed the situation and has resulted in proposals which are hoped to address the issue soon.

There is no denying that there have been a number of false whiplash claims that have damaged the image of the personal injury claims sector for some time now. It is hard to get any real figures of what constitutes false claims, but the true situation has hardly been made any clearer by the number of sometimes sensationalist press stories about “whiplash fraud”.

According to the Association of British Insurers’ own figures, nearly 80% of motor vehicle accident claims are for whiplash injuries, which is not only a lot higher than the average percentage in the rest of Europe, it also seems to have risen in recent years. The high incidence of whiplash in Britain has seen some commentators refer to the country as the “whiplash capital of Europe.”

The likely reason for this statistic is the misuse of headrests in vehicles. Fitting well fitted headrests, together with their conscientious use, would probably bring down the number of whiplash cases substantially in the event of an accident. The other area of concern is the number of drivers who still resort to “tailgating” the vehicle in front. Whiplash is most commonly caused by a rear end collision.

Fraudulent whiplash claims do nobody any good, however, whatever their true extent. The biggest losers are those victims of road accidents that have genuinely received whiplash injuries and suffer financial losses as a result of their injuries. Whiplash by any standards can be a seriously debilitating injury that is not only painful but can make it hard or impossible to return to work quickly. In some cases, the pain can last for years, or is even permanent. Unfortunately, anybody who has been reading the rash of press stories about false whiplash claims is going to think twice about whether they should put their own claim in.

It is welcome news that the Government is not trying to deny the real whiplash injury sufferer from making a claim, simply to ensure that all those people who are making a claim for compensation genuinely have whiplash.

Here at Lamb & Co, we take a personal interest in all victims of road traffic accidents and strongly believe that anybody who has suffered from a whiplash injury that has been caused by somebody else should be able to receive compensation for the pain and suffering they have received as well as for lost income.

While better driving habits and the use of adequate protection for the neck are important changes that need to be made, the 200,000 odd people who suffer from whiplash injuries each year in this country need to be reassured that they will be able to receive compensation for injuries that are not their own fault.