It’s no secret that more whiplash claims are being made than ever before. Every few months there are new statistics released which reveal the true depth of the problem.
The number of car accidents across the country is slowly decreasing, yet the number of whiplash compensation claims, and driver’s insurance premiums, are at record levels.
Though there are many reasons for this increase in compensation claims, a recent report by car insurance company AXA reveals that doctors are being put under increasing pressure to sign off false whiplash injuries.
In order for a whiplash claim to be brought against a driver or insurance company the whiplash injuries must be described and confirmed by a medical professional. Without an expert giving their written confirmation that whiplash has occurred, a claim is very unlikely to succeed.
Whilst this report was being produced, doctors were asked what they thought about the whiplash claims industry. Of all the doctors who were questioned, 22% said they had seen a significant increase in the number of whiplash injuries over the last five years. The report also shows that doctors believe that 37% of patients who claim to have whiplash injuries are actually trying to make a fraudulent claim.
Call for more rigorous whiplash injury assessment
Doctors face a very difficult task when diagnosing whiplash injuries. Due to the nature of the injuries they can be very difficult to effectively and reliably diagnose. Whiplash injuries don’t have any external symptoms so they can be easily faked. However, the other side of the coin is that whiplash symptoms can develop hours or days after the accident. These two factors make it very difficult for doctors to accurately determine which injuries are genuine and which are fraudulent. In this report 78% of doctors said that they thought there should be a more rigorous assessment of whiplash injuries.
Perhaps the most disturbing part of the report is the role of immoral claims companies. 7% of doctors who were questioned said that they had been offered money to pass on details of whiplash patients to a whiplash claims company.
Though the ban on referral fees, which comes into effect in April 2013, is a step in the right direction, it’s clear that there’s still a long way to go.