New Move to Crack Down on Whiplash Insurance Claims

New measures aimed at cutting down the number of fraudulent whiplash injury claims have been revealed by Justice Secretary Chris Grayling.

The controversial measures are aimed at stamping out ‘cash-for-crash’ crooks who stage road accidents to make claims against other road users.

Fraudulent whiplash claims cost insurance companies millions every year, and it’s the law-abiding drivers who end-up footing the bill. In fact bogus whiplash claims are estimated to add a hefty £90 a year to every driver’s premium.

The government has released a study showing the number of whiplash claims has risen by 60% to 500,000 a year since 2006. At the same time the roads have become safer, with better passenger protection technology in cars, and the number of accidents has fallen by a fifth. The new proposals include:

  • Setting up independent medical panels to examine whiplash claims in an effort to spot the crooks feigning injury
  • Changing court procedures so insurers can challenge claims instead of offering a payout which is often cheaper than hiring lawyers

“The proposals are simple and prevent abuse of the system by letting independent medical experts diagnose whiplash cases to stem the flow of speculative or fraudulent claims. The aim is to reward genuine claims but to end the easy paydays for crooks,” said Grayling.

The proposed measures have provoked fierce criticism from lawyers, who make a fortune out of legal fees while chasing claims. And concerns have been raised that valid whiplash claims may face rejection in the rush to beat the fraudsters.

Meanwhile the measures have been roundly welcomed by insurers and motorists alike, and are estimated to reduce the cost of claims by £2 billion a year.

Graeme Trudgill, of the British Insurance Brokers Association, said: “The UK is the whiplash capital of Europe, fraudulent whiplash claims are not a victimless crime. Tackling the whiplash epidemic is the number one issue that we identified in our eight point plan to reduce the cost of motor insurance, and we look forward to working with the government as this develops.”

 


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