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MPs call for clampdown on whiplash claims

16 January 2012

MPs on the transport select committee have said that the government should consider bringing in laws to restrict whiplash claims if the Jackson reforms fail to reduce them.

MPs said, in a follow-up to last year’s report into the cost of motor insurance, that “the bar to receiving compensation in whiplash cases should be raised”.

They noted that the government had promised action on the issue, partly by restricting conditional fees, but warned: “If the number of whiplash claims does not fall significantly once these changes are implemented there would in our view be a strong case to consider primary legislation to require objective evidence of a whiplash injury, or of the injury having a significant effect on the claimant’s life, before compensation was paid.”

The select committee said the number of RTA claims notified to the Compensation Recovery Unit had increased from 466,097 in 2005-06 to 790,999 in 2010-11.

It said the number of accident victims had gone down in the same period, from 258,404 in 2006 to 208,648 in 2010.

In a further attack on claimant personal injury lawyers, MPs said one way to help reduce personal injury premiums might be to consider whether low-value claims using the online portal were “reasonable”.

Donna Scully, chair of the Motor Accident Solicitors Society (MASS), said the organisation was “deeply concerned” about the report’s recommendations on whiplash.

“The issue isn’t just about fraudulent claimants,” Scully said. “It is as much about insurers rushing to settle claims before they have seen medical reports.

“We strongly urge the committee to look again at this issue in more detail and consider the full range of available evidence, before jumping to a potentially premature and highly damaging conclusion.”

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Procedures Costs Road traffic