ABI calls for end to UK’s “pain in the neck” culture
by Gill Montia
The Association of British Insurers (ABI) is calling for a clampdown on the “pain in the neck” culture which it says has made the UK the whiplash capital of Europe.
With one in every 140 people claiming whiplash injuries a year, the ABI highlights the need for action as follows:
Nearly 1,200 whiplash claims are made every day in the UK; six times more than the number of people who claim for workplace-related injury every year.
The cost to the NHS of treating whiplash is estimated at £8 million a year.
Three-quarters of personal injury claims in the UK are for whiplash, more than elsewhere in Europe.
Insurers pay out nearly £2 billion a year in claims for whiplash.
Speaking at the 2011 Whiplash Conference in Leeds, the ABI’s assistant director of motor and liability, James Dalton, said: “Despite the statistics I doubt that that the UK has some of the weakest necks in Europe.”
He added: “Often difficult to diagnose, easy to fake and exaggerate whiplash is a fraudsters dream.”
The ABI is calling for action around:
Implementation of government proposals for civil justice reform to ensure genuine claimants get fair compensation and reduce the scope for fraudulent claims.
Intensifying insurers’ crackdown on fraudulent whiplash claims.
Raising consumer awareness on the need to keep a safe braking distance from the vehicle in front.
Developing authoritative medical guidance on how to accurately diagnose and treat genuine whiplash.
Mr Dalton concludes: “Our action plan will set up what is missing: an effective partnership between doctors, insurers and lawyers to ensure better prevention and treatment of whiplash, and crackdown on fraudulent claims.”