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Action to cut car whiplash claims

15th February 2012

Prime Minister David Cameron has said he will work with car insurers to reduce claims for whiplash injuries and cut the cost of premiums amid concerns that “trivial claims” are adding to the annual cost of insurance.

He has held talks at Downing Street with insurance, consumer and business groups, with representatives pledging to pass any savings on to consumers in return for government action.

Figures have suggested that Britain had become the “whiplash capital of Europe” with 1,500 claims a day for minor accidents and costing the insurance industry £2bn a year.

The meeting with the prime minister arose following a recommendation by the Commons Transport Select Committee.

It felt the government should bring forward primary legislation to require objective evidence of a whiplash injury and of it having a significant effect on the claimant’s life, before compensation is paid.

Figures from the last six years reveal a 70% rise in motor insurance injury claims but with a 23% drop in the number of casualties actually caused by road accidents. Whiplash accounted for 70% of the total.

Mr Cameron said he wanted to tackle the “damaging compensation culture” with insurers wanting to see measurers similar to those in Germany introduced where there is a 10km/h (6.25mph) threshold for whiplash claims and drivers have to obtain two medical opinions to diagnose the injury.

The Association of British Insurers welcomed the prime minister’s intervention, however, The Law Society, which represents more than 125,000 solicitors in England and Wales, accused Mr Cameron of failing to engage with it on the issue.

 

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