It was always going to be contentious, the Transport Select Committee’s gathering of evidence about Whiplash Injuries. With the Government announcing that it was delaying judgement on its ‘Reducing the Number and Costs of Whiplash Claims’ proposal until all witnesses have presented their arguments at the ongoing hearing, the pressure is mounting on the TSC to make the right call, no matter how emotive proceedings get.
There are a distinct two sides to the argument:
- Personal Injury Solicitors groups stating that injuries can happen in a RTA no matter what the circumstances
- Opponents stating that certain criteria have to be met before entertaining a compensation claim for Whiplash Injury
What the Government’s proposals are trying to determine is whether or not car insurance premiums would fall considerably if qualifying procedures were put in place to weed out potential spurious whiplash claims.
It’s been suggested that personal injury compensation claims for whiplash injuries are so rife purely because they’re seen as easy money.
If there’s likely to be any doubt cast over your claim, the time to appoint a personal injury solicitor is now, before the rules get tightened to such an extent that only the irrefutably injured will even make it to court.
From the Personal Injury Solicitors side of the fence, the argument is that injury can occur even at the slowest of speeds. If, for example, we were to adopt Germany’s stance, namely that at 10km/hour (6mph) it’s highly unlikely any injury would occur, lawyers are suggesting many rightful plaintiffs’ cases wouldn’t even make it to the claims’ court.
To put the argument into context, had the 10km/hour ruling been in force in the UK, 40% of the ‘more serious injuries’ would have been excluded from the judicial process.
Further ‘evidence’ submitted by David Brown, of the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries, put it to the Transport Select Committee that between 10%-60% of claims were fraudulent.
Former APIL President David Bott called into question not only how high the figures were compared to those collated by the ABI, but how such a wide variance could be tabled as statistical evidence at all.
Personal Injury Solicitors’ claims were validated further still by ‘evidence’ that not only contradicted the ABI’s findings that around 7% of claims were “exaggerated, misrepresented or fabricated”, but also set such a high tolerance band it made a mockery of the whole statistic-gathering process.
It’s also been suggested that speed is not the only factor when calculating the extent of someone’s personal injury.
The actual vehicles involved in collision, how the victims were positioned and/or braced for the collision at point of impact and even gender all contribute to how likely a person is to sustain an injury from an RTA.
Ellen Grant, Chair of the TSC, expected these hearings to get emotive. With such contradictory evidence tabled, she’s not going to be disappointed.