Your Legal Friend responds to ABI assertion that compensation should be removed for whiplash claims:
Your Legal Friend’s Philip Waters, road traffic accident-related personal injury specialist, has responded to calls by the Association of British Insurers that there should be a public policy debate on removing all damages for low-value claims.
Reiterating the argument that Your Legal Friend has repeatedly made as it lobbies to protect access to justice for whiplash claimants, Philip Waters says,
“The ABI has completely disregarded the devastating emotional and physical impacts road traffic accidents have on the people involved.
How quickly has the insurance industry forgotten that last year the Transport Select Committee acknowledged that whiplash can be a debilitating condition and genuine claimants should not be demonised. Moreover the Committee confirmed insurers had been using out-of-date whiplash claims figures and therefore were not presenting a true picture of a supposed “claims culture”. Our recent Road Traffic Accident report found that only 5% of road traffic accident victims who thought that their injuries were not worth compensation undertook legal action.
“Accidents can have a huge financial impact if people are left with injuries that mean they cannot work or need to pay expensive medical and care costs. Our report found that three quarters (73%) of the UK personal injury victims surveyed who pursued legal action for a road traffic accident in the past 5 years could not have afforded to pay for a solicitor out of their own pockets. This shows that people do need access to affordable legal support to ensure that if they are involved in a road traffic accident. Increasing the small claims track will mean that innocent victims could be denied the right to make a case for the financial compensation they deserve.
“We agree that more needs to be done to stamp out fraudulent and exaggerated claims. The legal and insurance industry need to work more closely together to share data to find out where fraudulent claims are coming from. This needs to happen as a matter of urgency before innocent people are denied access to justice.”