Is this adding Insult to Injury?

17th Nov 2016

The BBC website ran an article stating that whiplash claims have risen by 50% over the last decade, costing insurance companies about £1bn a year. The government said insurers have pledged to pass on the savings, worth about £40 a year. Following a promise made last year, ministers are looking at scrapping the right to compensation or capping it.

Personal Injury

In its consultation, the Ministry of Justice suggests that such payments – which are separate from medical bills or loss of earnings – could be banned. Or they could be capped at a maximum level of £425. By contrast the current average pay-out is £1,850.

Proposed measures include:

  • Introducing a tariff system for compensation, payable for more significant injuries than whiplash
  • Allowing small claims courts to handle all personal injury claims up to £5,000, rather than just £1,000, so reducing legal costs
  • Requiring medical reports from an accredited expert, before any claims could be paid

Mark Hambling Director of Rogers & Norton Personal Injury team commented. “We have previously seen promises from insurers that government reform will lead to a reduction in insurance premiums, it is fair to say that this has not always materialised and therefore I would treat any assurances at this stage with a degree of caution. Additionally, is it fair to ban the vast majority of whiplash claims which are genuinely pursued for genuine pain, suffering and loss of amenity? If a road traffic accident occurs and the driver suffers what is commonly called a whiplash injury, yet the passenger suffers a broken arm, is it fair and reasonable that the passenger has a right to compensation for their genuine pain and suffering yet the driver does not? They were after all both in the same accident and have both suffered pain and loss of amenity.

I fully accept that there have been occasions of fraudulent claims which have tarnished the vast majority of genuine claims and genuine solicitors acting on those claims. There are however many safe guards in place already, in both the civil and criminal courts, which insurers can pursue to defend such claims and where they do so and prove a fraudulent claim. I whole heartedly support their actions. It remains distinctly unfair however, for the vast majority of genuine claims to be penalised by the actions of the few, when there are already means of defending and punishing those pursuing fraudulent claims.

The staff in our Personal Injury department at Rogers & Norton has many years of experience and have built up the knowledge and expertise to help guide and support our clients through what can be a very trying, anxious and time consuming experience. We believe individual support from an experienced lawyer is vital to ensure the process reaches a satisfactory and positive conclusion for all parties.”