Whiplash backlash as legal costs rise, could affect claimants

Industry news roundup: week ended 4 Nov 2013:

Legal costs for whiplash claims are on the rise, prompting new measures designed to stem the rising tide but may end up hurting legitimate claimants.

So here we go, ladies and gentlemen: this week, it was revealed that it costs around £2,500 in legal fees to bring a small accident claim where whiplash injury is involved. Or at least that’s what the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries claims, as the organisation says these costs have gone up by 15 per cent in the three years since new legal reforms were put in place to limit these types of costs.

So in other words, the Institute is saying, these reforms haven’t done anything to make things less expensive for insurers. Of course it did concede that the new Legal Aid law will likely reduce the costs incurred by the insurance industry.

The problem here is it seems as if organisations and trade bodies are more interested in how to save insurers money than they are with the fact that people injured in car accidents through no fault of their own are entitled to be made whole by the responsible party. For what it’s worth, maybe we should make it harder for insurance fraud to occur instead of just making it harder for everyone to bring a claim, both legitimately injured people and scammers alike.

Now the Government may have hit on a good solution for this, according to another news story this week: an independent medical panel system is being planned where injured accident victims will be examined to determine the extent of their injuries. Now this may sound like a good idea on the face of it, but I was under the impression that a whiplash injury is hard to prove medically, as the type of soft tissue injury that characterises whiplash isn’t all that easy to prove. You’ve got to go on the symptoms patients are reporting instead, which makes me wonder what these independent medical panels are actually going to accomplish that a GP can’t.

Typical example of more government waste, if you ask me. You know if half the time, energy and money was spent looking into better detection and treatment methods for whiplash instead of all this rubbish maybe we wouldn’t have such a whiplash epidemic in the UK right now!

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