False Whiplash Claims on the Rise
Cases of false whiplash claims are on the rise – so much so that there has been an uplift of 115,000 patients per month as reported by the NHS. The time wasted to treat these 1.4 million fraudsters is a whopping million hours or more. Apart from the added stress on the already deteriorating NHS, whiplash claims costs insurers over £2 billion pounds a year, which translates to an additional £90 to driver’s premiums.
This report by the Association of British Insurers marks Britain as the whiplash capital of the world, where 78% of car accidents in the UK are such that the driver accepts liability-involving compensation for whiplash. These numbers are twice that of the Western European Average.
Doctors also claimed that the issue is on the rise, where 43% of physicians claim they frequently see suspected feigned injuries compared to 25% in 2009.
This research concludes that the NHS is being put under increasing pressure as more and more individuals try to claim compensation from falsified injuries. GP’s claim that attending to these types of cases takes away appointment time from patients who are genuinely in need of care.
Adding to this, surgery hours are lost, as well dealing with law firms and claims from companies harassing them for paperwork. It gets worse, where doctors even claim that they are pestered by these fraudulent patients to getting them to agree with their condition.
According to insurance company LV’s claims director Martin Milliner, verifying these types of claims not only uses up a lot of essential resources, but also adds to the pressure on the heavily stretched health service. While the progress made by car insurance companies and government officials to crackdown on fraud is tremendous, fraudsters are working on new ways to trick the system and claim compensation they aren’t entitled to. The regulators are trying to crack down further to deal with these professionals who continue to partner with the whiplash gravy train.
This rise in fraudulent whiplash claims is occurring despite legislation being introduced two years ago, which powered the courts to ban lawyers from offering incentives and to throw out claims. But the report states that this legislation obviously has not had a long term impact because here in the UK we still witness more whiplash related compensation claims than any other country in the EU.
The cost of dealing with fraudulent cases not only bumps up the costs of car insurance for honest motorists, but affects the public pocket as well. To separate the facts from fiction, whiplash is a type of injury caused to the neck as a result of a sudden jerking movement of the head backwards, forward or sideways. It causes stiffness, neck pain and at times headaches and could make it difficult to move. A study by the NHS states that that it takes more than a month to recover from whiplash, but 1 in 5 sufferers may experience symptoms for up to a year.
Whiplash may not be experienced for hours or even days of the actual accident so if you’re involved in a car accident, it is best to get yourself checked as soon as possible.