Come On! It’s difficult enough to make a legitimate whiplash claim
The Claimant Personal Injury Sector is this week hitting out at a statement made by leading insurance figure Andy Watson, chief executive of Ageas UK.
His statement claims that both injured victims damages and the Solicitors costs for whiplash injuries should be linked to the time it has taken to commence the claim – penalising those who do not claim in the aftermath of sustaining the injury.
He said that, “The spurious reporting of whiplash claims two or three years after the accident makes it very difficult for us as insurers to disprove it and do anything other than pay.”
His justification for this is that by introducing a sliding scale, Claimant’s will be incentivised to put their claims in sooner, allowing the insurance company a better opportunity to gather information and evidence about the accident and the injuries that are alleged to have been sustained.
My view on this is that Mr Watson’s statement is just the next step in chipping away at the personal injury sector to increase insurer’s profits. Let us remember, it has been a whole four months since Medco (scheme for independent whiplash diagnosis) was introduced to the industry. How figureheads within the insurance sector enjoy rattling the cages of the Claimant Solicitors, and trying to make it increasingly difficult for drivers and passengers to make a legitimate claim. The problem is that the media machine is quick to leap into action, it listens to these types of imaginative, impractical, one sided solutions and then the government gears start to turn.
Is Mr Watson forgetting the fact that the onus is on the Claimant to prove their case, and as such, they visit an independent, randomised medical expert who will conduct an examination and provide a medical report, containing a statement of truth, ready for presentation to the Courts?
As a firm, Oakwood Solicitors has dealt with numerous claims where it has not been possible to present the claim to an insurer immediately upon instructions. This could be for a variety of reasons from delays caused by police not releasing third party vehicle details, to the Claimant’s injuries being severe to the extent that they are unable to provide firm instructions.
To penalise the Claimant and further their legal representative (who I believe has a more difficult, arduous task of pursuing the claim the later it is presented), is not allowing access to justice given that the Limitation Act 1980 confirms the time frames involved should a personal injury claim wish to be pursued.
I’m still waiting for my car insurance premium to come down following the Jackson reforms in 2013.
If you have suffered from whiplash after an accident, then don’t hesitate to contact us using the short form opposite.