Rising whiplash injury claims are the primary reason that auto insurance premiums have increased in the UK, according to a report presented by the House of Commons Transport Committee. The committee said that rising insurance costs are injurious to everyone.
Louise Ellman, the committee’s chairman, said the trouble with whiplash injuries is that it is very difficult and expensive for insurance providers to challenge such claims since they are for injuries “where diagnosis is often subjective.” She added, “Although we strongly support access to justice, drivers should not be railroaded by cold callers into launching legal action.”
The report was written in the same vein saying, “It is difficult to diagnose whiplash objectively and this has deterred insurers from defending claims in court. We recommend that the bar to receiving compensation in whiplash cases should be raised. If the number of whiplash claims does not fall significantly as a result 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.”
Insurers were pleased with the committee’s findings. Nick Starling, director of general insurance at the Association of British Insurers, said, “We are pleased the committee has recognized that spiraling personal injury claims are the real reason car insurance premiums have been increasing and made recommendations for meaningful reform. It is absolutely critical that Britain’s whiplash epidemic is tackled once and for all and the committee’s acknowledgement that the bar to receiving compensation for whiplash is too low is a step in the right direction.”
At this point, it is not know how much weight the committee’s recommendations carry or whether or not members of parliament will turn any of them into law. However, it is important to keep in mind that many legal trends that are begun on the far side of the pond eventually make their way over here.
[Thanks to our friends at Car Loan With No Credit for the tip!]