New measures to bring down the number and cost of whiplash claims have been announced today.
Action has been taken after figures showed there had been a 60% rise in personal injury claims related to road accidents since 2006, despite vehicles becoming safer and a 20% reduction in the number of reported accidents over the same period.
There were more than half a million whiplash claims last year - and insurers estimate they add £90 a year to the average motor insurance policy.
The consultation proposes:
- Creating new independent medical panels to improve diagnosis of whiplash injuries. This will ensure that genuine claims can still go ahead, but exaggerated, misrepresented or fraudulent claims are robustly challenged.
- Options to allow more whiplash cases to be challenged in the small claims court - to change the current position where it can be cheaper for insurance companies to accept questionable claims than to contest them.
Justice Secretary Chris Grayling said:
“We are proposing action to support effective whiplash diagnosis by medical experts and to simplify procedures which will help bring speculative or fraudulent claims before a judge - so genuine claims can still be settled but fraudsters are left in no doubt there will be no more easy paydays.”