A whiplash claim nearly every minute is hitting the insurance premium of UK motorists more than you might think.
Whiplash has become the go-to weapon of choice for making a few quid after an accident. It has become so popular, in fact, that it costs every UK motorist £90 a year as part of their insurance premium.
This is according to industry experts, which say whiplash is costing the UK more than £2 billion a year. 78 per cent of all low value injury claims are whiplash, which is higher than anywhere else in Europe where the average is 48 per cent.
“In recent years claims for whiplash have risen, despite Britain’s roads becoming safer. For too many people whiplash has become the fraud of choice,” a spokesperson for the Association of British Insurers told the Telegraph.
Between 2012 and 2013 there were 477,000 reported claims for whiplash. That’s not far from being a claim every minute. It’s no wonder, then, a high court judge recently dismissed two whiplash cases, calling Britain’s ‘compensation culture’ a ‘national phenomenon’.
“It is proper that I should go on to record that I do not accept the evidence of either of them, which I find to be inaccurate, evasive, partial and advanced for an improper pecuniary motive,” the judge said.
“This is yet a further example of the national phenomenon of false whiplash claims being made and it is in an attempt to stem the tide that I do not shrink from making firm adverse findings against them,” he added.
Reports say the car involved was not visibly damaged and that neither party had reported any injury at the time of the accident or taken time off work to recover.
Whiplash is a type of neck injury that occurs when a sudden movement jerks the head in a direction. Symptoms include headaches, neck pain and stiffness.
This is far from being the first time whiplash claims have come under scrutiny. In July 2013 the Government’s Transport Select Committee told insurance companies to ask for proof of injury and to reject claims where there is none. The government later that year said it would setup a panel of expert doctors tasked with separating the real claims from the fake.
Fraudulent claims are clearly an issue. Critics fear, however, that a shift in procedure in how cases are dealt with would make it harder for those who are genuinely in need of compensation to get it.