Government to crack down on whiplash claims

Government to crack down on whiplash claimsThe Justice Secretary Ken Clarke has announced a ‘crackdown’ on spurious personal injury claims resulting from road traffic accidents. According to reports in the papers this week, Mr Clarke, along with Transport Secretary Justine Greening, will set out proposals to bring in independent doctors to rigorously screen victims of road traffic accidents in cases that involve whiplash.
The past few years have seen a significant increase in the number of personal injury claims arising from car accidents despite the fact the number of reported casualties has fallen by 25%. According to recent figures, the number of claims processed has increased by 70% over the past six years.
The plans also involve reducing the threat of large legal bills, thus encouraging insurance companies to challenge suspect claims. One proposal the Ministry of Justice have put forward is to increase the threshold of compensation that can be awarded in the small claims court from the current level of £1,000 to £5,000.
Ministers claim that the increase in claims has resulted in the sharp increase in car insurance premiums, which have hit drivers hard over recent years. Speaking to the Sunday Times, Ken Clarke said: “It is scandalous that we have a system where it is cheaper for insurers to settle a spurious whiplash claim out of court than defend it, creating rocketing insurance premiums for honest drivers.”
Professional services firms including personal injury solicitors and forensic accountancy firms, who calculate the losses resulting from accidents and injuries, have welcomed the move.
Vitek Frenkel of forensic accountants Frenkel Forensics commented: “The work undertaken in the field of personal injury has been tarnished with the brush of the minority. The vast majority of accident and injury claims are genuine and can leave people and their families in a desperate state; in need of compensation to help fund ongoing medical treatment and a reasonable quality of life.”
“It is hoped that the measures will result in a reduction in falsified claims, allowing the good work undertaken by legal and forensic accountancy professionals to help people rebuild their lives after an accident to continue untainted by disingenuous claims.”
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