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Whiplash Claims Reform: The Debate Continues

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Last week we commented on the misleading nature of statistics published by leading insurers regarding measures to reduce fraudulent whiplash claims. Since then many other organisations have spoken out about the "bias" being shown by insurers proposing to restrict compensation amounts for those who have suffered road traffic accidents.

Global insurers AXA have recommended that, in keeping with other European countries such as Germany and Sweden, there should be more stringent conditions for potential claims. This includes requesting that claimants take MRI scans in order to detect further proof, and also limiting the time period in which people can submit an application for compensation to just 3 days after the accident.

Proposals From AXA

AXA say that by implementing these regulations, insurance premiums will be reduced as there will be fewer whiplash applications approved. However, the Motor Accident Solicitors Society has rushed to discredit some of the ideas put forward. MASS states that the issued report is "blinkered" and that some suggestions were "disingenuous". In a statement they said:

"Other countries may have a smaller proportion of whiplash claims, but this is likely to mean that genuine accident victims are not compensated and cannot access the support and rehabilitation services that they need."

Problems For The Claimant

The primary issue we face is that genuine victims of whiplash will be either deterred from claiming or simply unable to. If for example, an MRI scan is required as evidence, the initial cost may be unaffordable without a guarantee that compensation will be given. The report also called for the minimum small claims track limit to double from 5,000 to 10,000. This would no doubt reduce fraudulent claims, but would also prevent genuine claimants from receiving what they are entitled to.

Sources:
Law Gazette;Claimant solicitors attack insurers biased whiplash proposals
Post Online; Axas whiplash proposals
The Telegraph; Why Britian is the whiplash capital of Europe

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