Accident claim industry worth in excess of £3bn a year

The accident claim industry in the UK, plagued by criminals and unscrupulous operators, is said to be worth in excess of £3 billion on an annual basis, experts say.

The Government has grown so concerned about what has come to be known as the ‘compensation culture’ gripping the nation, as it results in soaring insurance premiums prices as insurers pass on the costs of traffic accident claims to honest motorists, that it has actually made the announcement that it will be banning personal injury compensation claim referral fees.  Doing so will hopefully result in cheaper insurance policy premiums from a drop in traffic accident claims, says the Government, and now a smartphone app developer has come forward with a new free tool to make it harder for fraudsters to get away with murder.

2ergo, an award-winning mobile marketing specialist, has announced the launch of its iAccident app, which will allow claimants present at the scene of an RTA to swiftly and easily capture the important details needed to give their legitimate claims validity and also to reduce the amount of ammunition fraudsters have in their quest to pull the wool over the eyes of insurers.

The app will also be offered to insurers on a white label basis in order to permit those within the car insurance industry to adopt the app and customise it to have personalised marketing, branding, and contact information.  Instead of being linked to the main iAccident databases, the white label versions of these apps will be configured to interface with the individual systems of each provider.

Designed to place consumers directly in control of their claims and to make it harder for unscrupulous criminals, the new iAccident mobile app has been built from the ground up to be as easy to use as possible.  Accident data is captured accurately through the use of satnav technology, and as the majority of smartphones are fitted with digital cameras, the app will timestamp and record the geographical location of every photo taken before sending a report to a secure, encrypted server.

New car designs have resulted in more RTAs, says one expert

According to one recent report, new car designs have been a significant contributory factor to an uptick in the number of RTAs on British roads.

Over the past two years, the number of ‘blind spot’ car accident claims has risen by 48 per cent, according to a crash management firm’s analysis, with more than 150,000 accidents occurring every year due to motorists changing lanes without checking their blind spot.  With the European Union insisting on more strict safety regulations in order to protect vehicle occupants from becoming injured in motor vehicle accidents due to the lighter material used in modern car construction, support behind the driver and rear passenger compartments has thickened, resulting in larger blind spots through limitations in rear visibility.

The issue has become so prevalent that the Driving Standards Agency had no choice but to disallow the use of Mini convertibles during their motor vehicle tests in 2005 due to the fact that examiners had been complaining about the lack of rear visibility whilst operating the vehicle.  In order to counteract the issue, many of the larger car manufacturers have begun to introduce highly sophisticated camera systems in order to give the driver advance warning of how close other vehicles have come to the car and whether the vehicle has begun to drift out of its lane, features that industry experts hope will work to reduce the number of accidents on the road.

The recent  study, which collated data from 50,000 traffic accident claims, was based off accidents which occurred from as far back as 2009 to as recent as June of this year, according to industry experts familiar with the research.

No win no fee ban proposals before Parliament, says Djanogly

Proposals to ban no win no fee conditional fee arrangements have been put before Parliament, said Justice Minister Jonathan Djanogly recently.

Claiming that the current personal injury claims system was symptomatic of the ‘compensation culture’ afflicting the UK, the Justice Minister said that middle men have been taking it to the bank as the rest of the country ends up paying through the nose for higher prices and increased insurance prices.  Mr Djanogly said that many of these personal injury compensation claims are completely contrived, only getting through the courts due to the current system’s design, which allows altogether too many to profiteer off of minor incidents and traffic accident claims.

People have no stake in the legal costs associated bringing claims, a situation which the Justice Minister called ‘bizarre.’  The proposals currently before Parliament aim to change this, which could result in claimants thinking long and hard about whether they wish to bring suit.

Insurers have faced tough criticism for passing on the details of their customers to legal firms in return for a fee payment. Meanwhile, those referral fees can be reclaimed against an insurer or a defendant if a lawyer is successful.

Between 2002 and 2010, the number of personal injury compensation claims rose by 72 per cent.  The government maintains that the results of this has resulted in the NHS, local authorities, and consumers all experiencing higher costs.

The new personal injury claims policy followed on the heels of news that motor insurance costs will be investigated by the Office of Fair Trading after it was found that premium prices increased by 30 per cent over the past 12 months through May.

Whiplash claims to increase in coming weeks?

Thousands of Brits got behind the wheel for an Easter day out with their families this month and accident claim experts predict that the number of traffic accident claims to have occurred was high.

Potholes and damage to roadway surfaces caused by extreme winter weather damage were expected to be the main cause behind the recent surge in road accident claims.  Approximately 6.7 people had planned to journey by car in order to reach their UK holiday destinations in the month of April, and one recovery firm stated that with the massive increase in crashes an additional rise in personal injury claims related to those crashes was predicted to occur.

One of the many risks these drivers were considered likely to take would have been ‘car cramming,’ which is trying to fit everything except the kitchen sink into the family sedan for a caravan or camping holiday.  When paired with the aforementioned state of disrepair throughout many of the highways in Britain, the dangers of car cramming could put drivers at serious risk of ending up having to file an accident claim with their insurance provider.

Peter Horton, managing director for recovery firm Britannia Rescue stated that the firm advised that motorists could have done well to have taken a bit of extra time before starting their journey to make sure that their loads were secure, safe, within the maximum permitted weight of their vehicles, and not blocking the driver’s view.

Industry experts agree that the costs incurred to insurance companies by having to pay a rising number of accident claims can lead to increases to average premiums across the UK.  As motor insurance cover is already rapidly rising drivers were urged to do their utmost to prevent unnecessary crashes to protect not only themselves and their loved ones but their bank accounts as well.

Potholes cause upswing in car accident claims

Recently conducted research that local authorities have had to deal with an upswing in car accident claims brought against them due to issues caused by potholes left unfilled.

The past two winters in the UK have been uncommonly cold.  As the constant freeze-and-thaw of water on our nation’s motorways causes cracks and potholes to occur, local authorities have been unable to keep up with the burgeoning road safety issue. As a result the number of personal injury compensation cases caused by potholes have blossomed.

Potholes can lead to severe injuries or even death amongst motorists and those that share the road with them, according to the AA. Cyclists were found to be particularly vulnerable, as injury claims such as broken wrists have been reported by cyclists who have been thrown from their bicycles after colliding with a pothole.

Potholes also are a leading cause of axle and suspension failures in cars and other large vehicles.  Traffic accident claims caused by potholes cost approximately £2.8 billion every year in the UK, and road maintenance efforts are currently underfunded by approximately £1 billion annually. As a result, local authorities end up paying out in excess of £50 million in personal injury claims caused by pothole-damaged roads.

Recent discoveries have been made that indicate councils have been experiencing increased pothole-related damages. This is because local authorities with responsibility for maintaining the roads in question can be held liable for injuries suffered by motorists or damages sustained by their vehicles.

Due to the increased costs, the government recently issued a confirmation that it will be allocating an additional £100 million in funding to local councils to be spent on road maintenance and much-needed repairs. Transport secretary Philip Hammond added that the new funds will allow for smoother and safer trips for the millions of drivers across the UK who have had the dubious honour of running into these omnipresent potholes.

Drivers encouraged to make injury claims, says TSC

Drivers have been encouraged to make injury claims by their insurers, according to a new report recently published by the Treasury Select Committee.

The TSC report states that people who are persuaded to make car accident claims after their names are passed on by insurers to personal injury lawyers are inadvertently enabling their insurance companies to collect referral fees from their lawyers. The research efforts of the TSC were initially launched in order to identify the biggest factors that are driving the increase of car insurance prices in the UK.

The TSC additionally called for the establishment of an insurer-funded specialist police department in order to better handle the number of fraudulent traffic accident claims.  The committee also lit into the insurance industry in general for neglecting to work harder to prevent staged and fake car accidents.

A motor insurance company representative from the Association of British Insurers has been dismissive of the committee’s accusations however. The ABI states that a better tactic would be to ban commission fees altogether, calling them a symptom of a compensation system that has grown dysfunctional.  The ABI claimed that the blame for the issue needs to be laid at the feet of claims management firms, not its own.

Calling the report a ‘missed opportunity,’ ABI general insurance and health director, Nick Starling, stated that the committee has chosen to ignore the vast majority of the evidence it gathered prior to the publication of its report. Mr Starling further commented that the TSC neglected to recognise that spiralling legal costs and personal injury claims are the main causes of the recent car insurance rate hikes.

The ABI also commented that it is already working to reduce the levels of insurance fraud in the UK, as they are already funding the Insurance Fraud Bureau.

Accidents fall, yet accident claims continue to increase

Despite the number of accidents in the UK falling this year, the number of drivers and passengers seeking personal injury compensation has been increasing.

The increase in car acident claims have been prompting insurers to increase premiums in order to recoup growing legal costs.  The motor insurance sector has indicated that there may be as much as a 40 per cent rate hike in order to counteract the costs of rising traffic accident claims.

The scope of the problem was  made clear to the Transport Select Committe by leading actuarial consultants EMB in a recent report.  MPs responded by calling on the insurance industry to increase efforts to discourage fraudulent personal injury claims, as such behaviour was considered to be a major contributor to insurance cost increases.

In addition the MPs stated that insurance costs were being heightened by what they called a ‘merry-go-round’ of post-crash referral payments.  Accident management firms are often given the nod by garages, work to take the case over and charge insurers for many expenses that could include compensation, doctors’ fees, and car hire costs.  Costs are increased atop that by the fees charged by the accident management firm for its services.

EMB’s data analysis revealed the scope of the problem, as it contained information that had been provided by an overwhelming majority of insurers doing business in the UK.  MPs were told that EMB found that the single largest driving factor affecting premium increases in the industry could be attributed to the rising cost of personal injury claims.

EMB estimated that two decades ago, only 20 per cent of insurance claims costs could be traced to such personal injury claims. Now the proportion has risen to be 50 per cent according to 2010 figures.

Changing clocks could result in more car accident claims

Injury solicitors in Scotland have recently raised concerns that the government’s current plan to change the clocks to bring an hour of sunlight later into the evening could end up causing more car accident claims.

If the change goes into effect, the shortest day of the year would see darkness until 9:45 am, instead of 8:45 am as it stands now.  Experts predict that the roads would become more dangerous due to reduced visibility that the number of traffic accident claims would increase significantly.

Personal injury compensation specialists in Scotland have expressed their concern for the proposal. One industry spokesperson stated that roads are a ‘hive of activity’ in the morning, but plunging that situation into darkness was a surefire way to increase the number of accidents.

The spokesperson stated that Scots will need to demonstrate an extra dose of vigilance if the change goes ahead, though it was always important to be cautious whilst behind the wheel.

The Prime Minister is being inconsiderate of the best interests of Northern voters, according to many Scottish MPs.  Angus Brendan MacNeil, MP for Western Isles, stated that doubling summer time for two months out of the year would lead to extremely late sunrises for those living anywhere north of Manchester.

The main driver behind the campaign to set the clocks ahead an additional hour has been the tourism boost that proponents of the plan are speculating.   This would help stimulate the economy by bringing billions of pounds of tourist revenue to the region, according to them.

Roads in Scotland have already taken a severe thrashing from the ice and snow this winter has brought.  Many are hesitant to throw an additional hour of darkness into the miss when the roads are in such a state of disrepair currently.

Driving sims lead to more car accidents, says new study

People who play driving simulators on their games console or computer submit more car accident claims than people who don’t, says one new recently released study.

A Continental Tyres study of incidences of traffic accident claims amongst driving game enthusiasts found that they are likely to be worse drivers than those who do not play such games.  The responses of 1,000 motorists who routinely play games such as Formula 1 and Gran Turismo were compared against 1,000 motorists of the same age who do not.  The results indicated that driving sim aficionados were more likely to go through red lights, exceed the posted speed limits, and have difficulties in performing simple manoeuvres whilst parking.

More detailed figures revealed that at 30 per cent, twice as many driving game fans have made insurance injury claims in the wake of an accident as those who habitually do not play such games. Additionally only 13 per cent of non-driving gamers were likely to speed, in comparison to the 25 per cent of respondents on the gamers’ side.

The rates of road rage and risky driving behaviour were also elevated in the gaming group. 45 per cent of respondents admitting to succumb to road rage as opposed to 22 per cent of the control group. Only 21 per cent of non-gamers engaged in risky overtaking manoeuvres and other dangerous driving tactics, while the number of driving game fans was over twice that at 44 per cent.

Industry experts are at a loss to explain the phenomenon.  Some car accident claim industry insiders initially thought that the motorists who spent more time playing driving-related games would have higher skill levels than their non-gaming counterparts, yet it is obviously not the case.  Other experts have suggested that the speed and dangerous driving in race-like settings – is why so many car game fanatics are turning out to be poor drivers.

Whiplash injuries can be misleading, says one expert

One car accident claim expert has recently warned those suffering from whiplash to take their injuries seriously.

Traffic accident claims can be both traumatic and terrifying to their victims.  Neck or whiplash injuries can occur quite commonly in such accidents; as a result many personal injury lawyers have been cut out of the compensation loop by insurers in an effort to get victims to settle quickly and on the cheap.  However industry experts state that claimants need to take precaution and care before agreeing to any quick direct settlement.

Experts say that claimants should seek proper representation in order to avoid feeling pressured by the tactics employed by insurers.  A properly calculated compensation claim can sometimes be more than 15 times higher than an insurer might offer an injured victim.

Whiplash and other neck injuries can be very misleading.  The initial injury can sometimes masquerade as something as minor as a stiff neck unless the injured party is examined properly by a medical professional.  Unfortunately serious neck injuries can quite often lead to long-term problems or future health issues further down the road.  A later claim may no longer be possible if a quick settlement is made.  This can result in the loss of what could be a substantial additional compensation on behalf of the injury victim.

One industry expert stated that compensation claim cases in regards to whiplash and other neck-related injuries should always be dealt with by a qualified legal professional. Many firms specialise in such personal injury claims, which can lead to extensively experienced and knowledgeable legal representation.  This regularly leads in turn  to claimants succeeding in their legal proceedings efforts much more often than they would with a more inexperienced firm.