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News item: False whiplash claims set to be tackled by the Government

May 3, 2012

Car whiplash injury compensation claims have escalated over recent years. This, it appears, has been one of the reasons for the increase in the cost of car insurance, according to a recent insurance summit.

At a motor insurance summit that took place in London recently, ministers who were present emphasised that the Government is trying to confront and sort out the increased number of falsified whiplash claims.

The Justice Secretary, Kenneth Clarke, and the Transport Secretary, Justine Green, are investigating possible ways to alter the diagnostic methods used for whiplash victims.

The Law Gazette has highlighted that the Government is soon to put into place an evaluation method for doctors who undertake assessments of whiplash claims. Tougher regulations are also expected with out-of-court settlements and insurance companies being asked to dispute claims they think might be fraudulent.

The Director of AA Insurance, Simon Douglas, stated that he was hoping that the measures would be enforced very soon.

Statistics indicate that there are in excess of 1,000 whiplash compensation claims made every day, which are adding £90 to the car insurance policy on average. Clarke emphasised that there are major faults with the present system and that it was outrageous that under the current system it is less expensive for insurance companies to settle a fake whiplash claim out of court rather than defending it, bringing about excessive hikes in insurance premiums for those drivers who are honest.

The intention is to filter out false claims by questioning spurious medical evidence and allow insurance companies to defend any claims whereby encouraging them to pass on any savings to their customers.

A further aim is to make it easier, quicker and cheaper for those injury claims that are valid and they will be processed in the small claims court, which will ensure that victims of genuine whiplash injuries will be fairly compensated.

Whiplash is a dicey area because of the difficulty that doctors have in establishing if a patient’s injury is really a whiplash injury or an injury minor in nature. The imposition of more restrictive guidelines will mean that doctors might dismiss a genuine claim, which could leave injured victims without any form of compensation.