The UK has been dubbed the ‘whiplash capital of Europe’, after research conducted by the Association of British Insurers showed that British motorists dominate the league tables for whiplash personal injury claims.
One in eight personal injury claims resulting from road traffic accidents are now for whiplash, with the number arising each year double those of France, Spain and the Netherlands.
The rise comes despite the total number of injuries being reported to police following road accidents dropping by some 20 per cent between 2006 and 2011. Over the same period, the number of claims for neck and soft tissue injuries jumped a massive 40 per cent.
Such claims have the effect of increasing insurance costs across the board, with the average motorist having to fork out an extra £90 per year.
The epidemic in claims, which the ABI blames largely on the UK’s compensation culture, now costs a total of £2.2 billion a year.
James Dalton, the ABI’s Head of Motor and Liability, said: “Insurers remain fully committed to ensuring access to justice for genuine claimants. But the harsh reality is that the UK remains the ‘whiplash capital of Europe’, with our ‘have a go’ compensation culture making whiplash the fraud of choice for many.”
The ABI has set out a number of proposals, with the aim of reducing the amount of fraudulent whiplash claims, including independent medical assessment of injuries and setting out a transparent method of calculating compensation.
Mr Dalton added: “Our proposals will ensure that genuine claimants receive access to justice at a proportionate cost, while driving out fraudulent and exaggerated whiplash claims that increase the cost of car insurance for honest motorists.”
Have you ever had a claim for whiplash made against you following an accident on the road? Do you think the law surrounding personal injury claims needs changing? Have your say in the comments section below.