Outbreak: What is the Whiplash Epidemic Hitting the UK at Full Force?
If the world of personal injury claims suffers from something of a bad reputation with the general public, there can be little doubt that much of the blame lies with the issue of whiplash.
Caused by a violent, jerking movement of the head, either back and forth or from side to side, whiplash is one of the most common injuries suffered as a result of a road-traffic accident. In many cases, especially when collision speeds are low, it may in fact be the only injury suffered by a car’s passenger and therefore any subsequent action for damages will revolve solely around a whiplash injury claim.
The Situation with Whiplash Claims
Around 500,000 whiplash claims were made in 2011, double the number of 2006, leading to concerns that Britain is now facing a whiplash epidemic and that many of those coming forward are claiming unnecessarily. Whiplash claims continue to increase despite the number of car accidents dropping by around 16%. Insurers now say there should be a minimum collision speed, below which no claim should be allowed.
Driving tests are now more rigorous than ever and cars are safer than they have ever been. As a result of this, the number of people being killed or seriously injured on the road is half of what it was a decade ago. Theoretically, insurance premiums should be falling and many industry observers believe the chief reason they are not is because of the increasing tide of claims. According to the Prime Minister, Britain is the ‘whiplash capital of Europe’ and the cost of claims adds Â£90 to the average premium.
In response to these growing concerns, David Cameron is to host meetings with insurance companies with a view to introducing new rules which he hopes will reduce the cost of whiplash claims made in the UK, currently running at around Â£2bn per year. With around 1,500 whiplash claims being lodged every day of the year, ministers believe it is time to require higher, more impartial standards of supporting medical evidence and also to raise the threshold at which claims may be made.
This will make it more important than ever that anyone who feels they may have suffered a whiplash injury get medical and legal advice as quickly as possible. Although most commonly associated with road-traffic accidents, whiplash can also occur in contact sports such as rugby, boxing or martial arts and can also be the result of a fall.
The Offending Symptoms
The main symptoms of stiffness and pain when moving the neck may not begin to occur for up 48 hours after the initial incident. This means some people fail to make a connection and ignore the condition, potentially making it much worse.
Whiplash can be incredibly debilitating and in some cases can take months or even years to make a full recovery from. New research has made it far easier for doctors to distinguish real claims from less genuine ones and this, combined with greater controls by the authorities, should mean that anyone who has suffered a genuine whiplash injury will always be able to get the compensation they deserve.
This guest post has been written by Leyla on behalf of Barlow Robbins, specialist spinal injury lawyers. They understand the need to stay informed and share their specialist knowledge of this area. Keep updated here of more developments regarding personal injury and its legal implications.
One thought on “Outbreak: What is the Whiplash Epidemic Hitting the UK at Full Force?”
I don’t doubt that people here are making false claims to earn money that they’re not making on the dismal pay they get here vs. the cost of living BUT the roads here are atrocious! Cars are often parked where one needs to drive and nothing is done to get these cars out of the way! The roads are TOO small for the big cars that are now on the road — especially by the drive-your-kids-to-school bunch — all with Range Rovers and other trucks and vans — as it is and then two-way lanes blocked by boldly,idiotic parked cars. I’m amazed there aren’t MORE whiplash complaints with the amount of times cars have to come to sudden jolt-like stops whilst driving! Something needs to seriously be done about banning cars from parking on through roads — NOW!