MPs have said that drivers need to undergo more rigorous medical testing when looking for compensation in cases of whiplash, industry experts recently reported.
The Transport Select Committee has made the recommendation that whiplash diagnoses need to be subject to higher levels of scrutiny, as too many unscrupulous no win no fee solicitors are exploiting the subjective standards as they exist currently. MPs also urged insurers to abandon premium-inflating practices in regards to personal injury claims, such as selling personal details of their customers to third parties.
In order to reduce motor insurance costs, the report also recommended a cross-departmental ministerial committee. The Transport Select Committee chair, Louise Ellman, remarked that insurers find it difficult to challenge whiplash claims due to their highly subjective nature in regards to diagnosis and that whiplash claims are primary reason premiums were increasing (see whiplasclaim.org.uk).
Claim levels have doubled over the past decade as solicitors rake in the cash from the increased number of whiplash claims, the report said. Accounting for more than 7 out of every ten injury cases, whiplash claims have increased insurance premiums by 16.4 per cent in 2011, according to the committee.
Even though accident casualties on the road have fallen by one third over the past ten years, the number of claims made have ballooned by nearly double. Between 2000 and 2005, official figures say there were only 395,735 such claims every year, yet there were nearly 791,000 claims in 2011 alone.
The bar needs to be raised in regards to whiplash compensation cases, the report recommended, adding that legislative efforts may be needed if claims numbers do not undergo a significant decline therein.