Lawyers row over whiplash epidemic

By James Barnes

14 March 2013 at 12:35 BST

Personal injury lawyers have clashed with insurers over proposed changes to curb the so-called whiplash epidemic which adds an estimated £90 a year to the average car insurance premium.

Whiplash: the 'fraud of choice'

The Association of British Insurers (ABI) submitted a plan to the Ministry of Justice suggesting that medical assessments of whiplash claims should be carried out by doctors who have been approved by a special board, reports The Daily Telegraph. The medical experts would also have to show financial independence from claimant solicitors.


The ABI also recommended allowing small claims courts to handle whiplash claims up to £5,000, rather than £1,000 at present, and establishing a set level of damage awards for whiplash.
The ABI’s assistant director of motor and liability James Dalton said that whiplash is ‘notoriously difficult to diagnose’ and has therefore become the ‘fraud of choice’.


However, the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL) said that the proposals would put off people with a genuine claim. APIL President Karl Tonks said the real issue should be ‘getting the right level of compensation for genuinely injured people’.
‘The vast majority of claimants have genuine injuries and these proposals will put off the genuine claimants and do nothing to stop the fraudsters,’ he added.
According to ABI estimates, 70 per cent of road accident personal injury claims are for whiplash in the UK, compared to 47 per cent in Germany, 32 per cent in Spain and 3 per cent in France.


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