Whiplash Injuries – the onus of proof
Due to recent press attention, we are all familiar with the phrase that Britain is now considered to be “the whiplash capital of Europe”.
Recent publicity surrounding the focus of attention by the Commons Transport Select Committee on fraudulent personal injury claims in connection with motor insurance policies, and specifically the disproportionate number of whiplash injury claims, highlights the financial penalties honest motorists face by way of increasing motor insurance premiums due to claims costs.
The Transport Select Committee advised that the number of personal injury claims is rising, despite a notable fall in the number of collisions. A large proportion of these claims relate to whiplash injuries, which are difficult to assess. Fraudulent or exaggerated claims cost honest motorists an average of £40 per year on their motor insurance premiums.
According to the British Insurers Association 75% of motor personal injury claims are for whiplash, compared to an average of 40% throughout the rest of Europe. With claims for whiplash injuries following even the most minor of accidents, the Committee has already recommended that primary legislation be brought forward to ensure that objective evidence of a whiplash injury, plus proof of it having a significant effect on the claimant’s life, is needed before compensation is paid.
David Wakefield, Managing Director of Watershed Claims Services Ltd, commented: “Many people see false or exaggerated claims against insurance companies as ‘victimless crimes’. We welcome the view that such behavior, which impacts significantly on the cost of motor insurance to us all, will not be tolerated. We at Watershed are specialists in fraud detection, including in relation to fraudulent personal injury claims. National attention drawn to this issue can only be of benefit to the insurance industry and its honest customers.”