Whiplash claims will soon be subjected to higher thresholds after a tougher system is implemented for medically certifying injuries, according to transport secretary Justine Greening and justice secretary Ken Clarke.
The new move, designed to curb the influence of criminals making fraudulent car accident claims to turn a profit, is one of several new measures being implemented in order to minimise the impact being felt by whiplash-related personal injury claims. Insurance claims arising from car accidents has undergone a 70 per cent increase over the last six years, according to official statistics, even in the face of the number of accidents themselves undergoing a nearly 25 per cent decline.
Insurance providers have leveled the blame on the proliferation of personal injury firms and claims management companies, with legal fees and compensation payouts costing insurers £2 billion in 2011 alone. This has led Government ministers to adopt new strategies to minimise the influence of these firms, with other measures being taken to institute more stringent regulations for those wishing to reach a settlement out of court with an insurer.
In a recent interview in the Sunday Times, Mr Clarke called it ‘scandalous’ that the current civil litigation system is actually less expensive for an insurer to simply settle a spurious or frivolous whiplash-related injury claim in a settlement out of court instead of defending it. The end result, according to the justice secretary, is that honest drivers have had to shoulder an increasingly heavy burden in the form of increasd insurance premiums, with some experts stating that £90 of every current policy goes towards recovering insurers’ costs incurred in paying out on whiplash claims.