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Association of Personal Injury Lawyers

Lawyers welcome truth to whiplash debate

31 Jul 2013
APIL news

Insurance companies should be immediately ‘taken to task’ and put an end to injured people being used as scapegoats for high motor premiums, say claimant lawyers.

Not-for-profit campaign group the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL) today (31 July) welcomed a shift towards ‘transparency and truth’ in the outcome of an inquiry into whiplash claims and the cost of motor insurance.

“Finally, some realities about the whiplash claims system have been recognised,” said APIL chief executive Deborah Evans. “The Transport Select Committee has acknowledged that the Government has, so far, largely been influenced by the insurance industry in its plans to tackle high motor premiums, and called for insurers to get their house in order. I couldn’t agree more,” she went on.

“Some of the real mischief lies in credit hire and repair practices, which the Office of Fair Trading has described as ‘dysfunctional’. And we need to see an end to insurers trying to cheaply pay off crash victims before a medical assessment has been carried out,” Deborah explained.

“The issue of whiplash claims and their effect on premiums has been subject to much propaganda. But the committee recognises that the number of claims has fallen*, and that reports of the level of fraudulent claims are essentially based on guesswork,” she added. “Its recommendation for the insurance industry to provide better data about fraudulent injury claims, so that there is a stronger evidence base for policy decisions, is very welcome indeed”.

The committee also said that plans to send whiplash claimants through the small claims court could be counterproductive in efforts to detect and discourage fraudulent and spurious claims.

“The Government must listen to reason. To send whiplash claims to the small claims court will punish genuinely injured people by leaving them unrepresented. It will create an opportunity for claims management companies to take on cases in exchange for a share of the victim’s compensation, as we’ve seen with PPI claims, leading to a boom in cold calling and texting which could ultimately encourage more claims,” said Deborah.

-ends-

Notes to editors:

  • *Figures from the Department for Work and Pension's (DWP) Compensation Recovery Unit (CRU) show that the number of whiplash claims in Great Britain as follows: 2008/09 - 486,194, 2009/10 - 518,563, 2010/11 - 571,111, 2011/12 - 547,405, 2012/13 - 488,281.
  • APIL?s written evidence to the House of Commons Transport Select Committee inquiry Cost of motor insurance: whiplash is here: http://files.apil.org.uk/parliamentary-room/APILwrittenevidence-TransportCommitteewhiplashinquiry.pdf.
  • APIL (Association of Personal Injury Lawyers) is a not-for-profit organisation whose members are dedicated to campaigning for improvements in the law to help people who are injured or become ill through no fault of their own.
  • For more information contact APIL's press and communications officers Jane Hartwell on t: 0115 943 5416, m: 07808 768623, e: jane.hartwell@apil.org.uk, or Tim Carter t: 0115 943 5409, e: tim.carter@apil.org.uk.
  • Visit the association's website at www.apil.org.uk.
  • •Follow @APIL on Twitter: www.twitter.com/APIL.

Past press releases

Lawyers call for outright ban on cold calling for personal injury in Scotland, 01 Jun 2018
APIL, FOIL and MASS join forces for mediation project, 29 May 2018
Grieving relatives cruelly ignored by justice system, 27 Apr 2018
Car insurance injury claims lowest this decade, 23 Apr 2018
Court closure threat to local justice system , 21 Mar 2018
Government washes its hands of injured people, 20 Mar 2018
Cold calling ban: time for Government to deliver, 08 Mar 2018
MPs told: Now is the time to ban cold calling, 22 Jan 2018

More past press releases

Head of Public Affairs
Lorraine Gwinnutt
0115 943 5400
lorraine.gwinnutt@apil.org.uk

Communications Manager
Jane Hartwell
0115 943 5416
jane.hartwell@apil.org.uk

Press & Communications Officer
Lizzy Freeman
0115 943 5431
lizzy.freeman@apil.org.uk