Association of Personal Injury Lawyers
A not-for-profit organisation representing injured people

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.

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Prevention rather than cure: lawyers campaign to cut pedestrian injuries, 17 Aug 2020
Is your child road safety aware? Survey of parents reveals road safety fears, 17 Aug 2020
APIL backs call for UK-wide injury prevention strategy , 13 Aug 2020
Change ‘desperately needed’ for injured people, 22 Jun 2020
Welsh lawyer elected to a top role of national organisation, 14 May 2020
Crisis will not knock us off track, says new APIL leader, 14 May 2020

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