Inquiry into high number and cost of whiplash claims

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The House of Commons Transport Committee will look at how the number and cost of whiplash claims in the UK can be reduced. The inquiry follows a December 2012 whitepaper from the Ministry of Justice, which described Britain as the “whiplash capital of the world”.

The whitepaper reported that, between 2006 and 2012, there was a 60 per cent rise in claims for personal injury caused by road traffic accidents despite a 20 per cent fall in the number of reported accidents over the same period.

The Committee’s inquiry will also look to establish:

  • whether whiplash claims add £90 to the average premium as claimed
  • what proportion of this additional cost is due to “exaggerated, misrepresented or fabricated” claims
  • whether the Government’s proposals to tackle fraudulent claims will help reduce insurance premiums
  • the impact of the proposals on access to justice for genuinely-injured claimants.

The Association of British Insurers (ABI) has set out proposals for reducing the number and cost of whiplash claims, which include:

  • independent medical assessments of whiplash claims by accredited medical experts
  • assessments would take into account the circumstances of the collision rather than the claimant’s reported symptoms
  • a laid down prescribed level – independently-set – of damage awards for whiplash.

“Our proposals will ensure better medical assessment of whiplash claims, offer a quick, simple way of paying genuine claims; provide certainty for claimants and compensators, and deter fraud that ends up being paid for through higher motor insurance premiums,” said the ABI’s assistant director of motor and liability James Dalton.