A recent government report has highlighted the British hotspots for whiplash compensation claims. Liverpool, Uxbridge and Oldham are shown to have as many as 20 extra compensation claims per head than other areas of the country.
In Liverpool, it has emerged that one in fifty residents have made a neck injury compensation claim as the result of a road traffic accident. Insurers are arguing that this report highlights the growing number of fraudulent claims which state whiplash as the primary injury.
Whiplash is notoriously difficult to prove. It is diagnosed almost entirely through the victim’s description of their symptoms. Doctors often have no option but to believe them. As such, parliament ministers are taking action in an attempt to reduce the number of claims. One suggestion is a ban on referral fees which will prevent personal injury lawyers from paying insurers to gain the contact details of injured car accident victims.
Interestingly, the areas which revealed the least number of whiplash compensation claims per head came from Dundee and Edinburgh. The statistics showed that only 3 in 1000 residents made a neck injury claim between 2010 and 2011. Scotland imposes far tighter laws on referral fees than England and automatically restricts the amount of data accessible to personal injury lawyers. Perhaps this is something England should emulate?
Insurers accuse personal injury lawyers
Insurers are accusing some personal injury lawyers of targeting financially deprived areas of Britain in order to boost the number of claims and cash in on their vulnerability. They are also blaming marketing techniques such as high density daytime television advertisements and SMS marketing campaigns.
Insurers have compensated for these claims by charging higher premiums in the areas with the highest density of claims. Understandably, ministers are concerned that charging drivers living in these areas higher insurance premiums is unfair. It is also feared that these policies are having severe knock-on effects for youth unemployment. The high cost of car insurance premiums are preventing young people, particularly those in the affected areas, from being able to afford the means to travel to work.
There is also a concern that the ban on referral fees will prevent many real victims from getting the compensation they deserve. In many cases, lawyers are concerned that victims will be put off entirely from pursuing a claim, especially those with complicated claims.