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Government Figures Reveal Fewer Claims for Whiplash Injury Compensation

Figures released by the Department for Works and Pensions Compensation Recovery Unit have revealed that claims for whiplash injury compensation have fallen year-on-year by more than 4 percent.

A total of 547,405 claims for whiplash injury compensation were recorded by the Compensation Recovery Unit in 2011/2012, whereas in the previous twelve months 571,111 whiplash injury compensation claims were registered.

The fall in the volume of claims for whiplash injury compensation was noted by president of the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL) – Karl Tonks – when he was giving evidence to a Transport Select Committee ahead of the latest amendments to the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Bill 2012.

Mr Tonks also produced the results of a survey prepared on behalf of APIL by market research company Canadean which showed that 40 percent of people eligible to make claims for whiplash injury compensation declined to do so. The survey also revealed that 1 percent of respondents to the survey had suffered a whiplash injury in the past twelve months, while 20 percent of those had experienced a whiplash injury in the past suffered symptoms of their whiplash injury for more than twelve months.

The Government is expected to announce plans for new specialist medical panels to support improvements in the diagnosis of whiplash and to increase from 1,000 pounds to 5,000 pounds the value up to which claims can be handled by the small claims court, but Mr Tonks warned the Transport Select Committee that the Government could be embarking on a potentially damaging reform agenda.

Acknowledging that a “universal commitment was required to reduce the number of fraudulent claims for whiplash injury compensation, Mr Tonks added “But it’s even more important to stand firm against any move to put barriers in the way of the majority of people who have genuine injuries and who need to make genuine claims.” Mr Tonks presented a ten point plan to the Transport Select Committee which he hoped could be discussed with the Government.

1. Information on fraud to be freely available to all parties to help identify fraudsters

2. Claimants to be subject to a legally binding statement of truth

3. Ban insurers from paying compensation without medical evidence

4. No offers of gifts or cash to potential clients to be made by any party

5. Enforcement of future ban preventing insurers from selling claimants´ details

6. Identities of potential expert witnesses to be shared by both sides

7. New guidance to help medics identify and understand whiplash injury

8. Photo ID to be provided when attending a medical

9. Claimant´s lawyer to organise access to relevant medical records

10. Spam texting to be banned