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According to the UK’s largest insurer, Aviva, the number of whiplash injury claims made by motorists is expected to top 840,000 this year. This marks an increase of 9% compared with the figure for 2013/2014. In comments made to the BBC, Aviva said that the ‘compensation culture’ of the UK was to blame for the increase, with too many fraudulent or exaggerated claims still being made.
Aviva also proposed further changes to the way claims involving whiplash and other similar injuries are dealt with. This included a reduction in the limitation period, so that these claims must be made within 12 months of the date of the accident and that in order to make claim, the injury symptoms must last for more than 3 months.
Here at Canter Levin & Berg Solicitors, our specialist Road Traffic Accident Solicitors deal with thousands of claims each year made by people who have suffered genuine injuries through no fault of their own in accidents on the road. We spoke to Ruth Bennett, one of our Road Traffic Accident Solicitors, about the latest accident claim statistics, the proposals from Aviva and the continued attacks by insurance companies on genuinely injured accident victims:
“Personal injury claims are made by the injured Claimant not by a Solicitor but innocent injured victims of another’s negligence have the right to legal advice and representation and pursue personal injury claims from the at fault party.
The government has enacted many changes in recent months that have affected the ability of injured accident victims to obtain access to justice - thereby saving insurers like Aviva a great deal of money.
The insurer’s proposals for change are misleading, insurers are already able to offer the injured Claimant treatment; damages are already awarded by reference to a tariff, the Judicial Studies Board Guidelines; and Solicitors firms are no longer able to pay referral fees.
There is a duty of insurance companies to address the issue of a ‘compensation culture’ if they believe it exists, first ensure they are not paying referral fees for personal injury claims and secondly if they believe a claim is fraudulent do not pay it but challenge it in Court. If claims are spurious or have no merits they will fail and no damages or costs will be payable.
The insurance companies state premiums ‘could’ be reduced if changes are made. There has been a raft of changes to the industry in recent years, particularly aimed at reducing the costs for insurance companies but surprisingly the reduction in premiums for consumers never comes and here is another example.”