At a recent summit with some of the country’s leading insurance companies, the Prime Minister had much to say about the compensation culture in the UK.
Right now, there are over 1500 whiplash claims made each and every day and some are for the most minor of incidents. These whiplash claims cases and the resulting compensation could be adding at least £90 onto the average vehicle insurance bill and, as a result, the UK has been nicknamed the whiplash claims capital of Europe!
The plan is for the Government and insurance companies to work together to find workable ways of reducing the number of whiplash claims and the amount of compensation paid out each year. However, the moves will not affect those who have suffered significant whiplash injuries as a result of an accident that was not their fault.
Number 10 said some of the options being looked at were to seek more in-depth medical evidence when looking into a whiplash claim and to also look at the speed thresholds involved.
In January 2012, a committee of MPs said that car insurance was spiralling out of control cost-wise due to poor management and sharp practice. The insurance companies at the summit promised to pass savings onto their customers and to challenge whiplash claims in more detail rather than simply making a pay-out.
The insurance industry has also promised to help small and medium insurance companies making sure they have all necessary guidance when it comes to health and safety laws. Mr Cameron said “I am determined to tackle this damaging compensation culture which has been pushing up premiums. I want to stop trivial claims, free up businesses from the stranglehold of health and safety red tape and look at ways we can bring costs down.”
“The insurance industry plays such an important part in all our lives – it is there to help when we are at our most vulnerable and at greatest need. But I want to ensure that we all do what we can to help people through this difficult time.”
However, the Law Society, which currently represents over 125,000 solicitors in the UK accused the Government of not engaging fully with them on the issue.
Chief executive Desmond Hudson said: “We wrote to the Prime Minister over a month ago, but it is disappointing that our offer to work with him and his Government in addressing public concerns over whiplash claims has been ignored. “There are many options to address, from Government, Opposition, and others, which need proper consideration. “Government should not be limiting itself to tea and cakes with one partisan set of stakeholders – the insurers.”
Those looking to make a whiplash claim in the next few months may find it harder if their injury is only minor, but those who have been subjected to pain and time off work and who can back up their claim with medical evidence will have a much stronger case.