February 9, 2016
UK named whiplash capital of the world 0
Got a crick in your neck? You’re probably not alone. Whiplash claims in the UK are the highest in the world.
A new study has found that over 80 percent of claims made in the UK seek compensation for whiplash related injuries, far higher than the European average. The study, by insurance company LV=, found that insurance claims in the UK related to whiplash even surpasses claims in the United States where over two thirds of claims are related to whiplash.
Costing the insurance industry an estimated £2billion a year, whiplash claims add an average of £90 to each insurance policy. Reports show that for every accident there are 2.7 claims for whiplash damages made. This obviously leads to concerns that fraudulent claims are being made and the Treasury are reported as promising to crackdown on the amount of claims being made, “ending the right to cash compensation.” This is not a new problem, either, with ministers promising to tackle the problem in disproportionate levels of injury claims. There was a 60% rise in road related personal injury claims between 2006 and 2013, according to the BBC, and this includes a rise in claims in 2011 despite a drop in actual road related accidents. In 2015, according to Britain’s largest insurance company Aviva, claims were expected to reach a record level of 840,000.
One of the major difficulties in tackling this ‘claim culture’ is that whiplash is difficult to diagnose. Each case is vastly different, with symptoms taking days to show up for some. Moreover, some cases heal quickly whereas some cause problems for up to six months. Matthew Avery is the director of research at Thatcham, Britain’s insurance industry’s vehicle research centre. He is reported as saying “Most whiplash injury is pain-led and you can’t diagnose it” and giving his opinion that maybe one in five claimants are genuinely suffering from bad whiplash.
The issue has been flagged and there are steps being made to tackle potential fraudsters. The government have already removed the right to claim for soft tissue injuries, and more injuries will be expected to go to small claims courts, with the upper limit for claims being raised from £1,000 to £5,000.
We would advise all UK drivers to be extra careful from now on. After all, in the UK’s ever increasing compensation culture, you might not be the one hurt in the accident but it’s still your neck on the line.