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Insurance coverage Firms Battle Again In opposition to Fraudulent Whiplash Claims

Insurance Companies Fight Back Against Fraudulent Whiplash Claims

Whiplash injuries account for 80 per cent of all car accident claims in the UK, but the number of bogus cases is on the increase according to Admiral Insurance.

Claims for whiplash cost the insurance industry up to £1.6 billion a year, with 250,000 people saying to have been affected by it annually; 2,000 of these are left with permanent disabilities.

There is no evidence of an injury immediately in most cases, yet victims are likely to suffer pain and discomfort due to damage to the muscles and ligaments. This may not even show up on an X-ray which makes fraudulent claims for whiplash hard to identify.

Staging a car accident is the new way criminals are trying to exploit the insurance system. This practice involves people deliberately setting up a road smash in order for them to make a claim for injury and damage to their vehicle. Witness statements will often be sought, but these onlookers are likely to be in on the scam according to industry experts.

Admiral Insurance has recently been involved in such a court case with a driver claiming to have suffered whiplash after his car was hit from behind by another vehicle.

The motorists seeking damages claimed to have been struck by a car at 35 to 40 miles per hour, shunting him forward with severe force which resulted in his injuries. Yet the driver of the other car, an Admiral customer, said although he did hit the car in front, he was travelling at only 2 to 3 miles per hour and caused a small amount of damage to the bumper area.

The claimant asked for a settlement of £6,500 from Admiral who agreed to pay only £548 for the damage to his car. The matter therefore went to court where the judge dismissed the claimants’ version of events and instead of awarding him a payout of several thousand pounds, ordered his side to pay the legal costs bill of up to £40,000.

A spokesman for Admiral said, “We are obviously concerned about people faking whiplash, as the more money we pay out for bogus claims, the more money genuine people have to pay for their insurance. Whiplash is such a difficult thing to prove that someone hasn’t had.”

Barclays Insurance Services carried out research into the causes of whiplash and found that although there are many cases of genuine injury, a majority of drivers and passengers in cars don’t help themselves by not adjusting their headrests to help them limit any impact suffered.

This claim was backed up by figures released by the motor industry’s research centre, Thatcham, who indicate that 72 per cent of front seat occupants fail to do this.

The Association of British Insurers (ABI) announced the development of a new aid to help insurers’ spot people who had suffered potentially serious neck injuries more quickly to enable them to receive the best medical care as soon as possible.

ABI said that although the majority of people recover from whiplash injuries relatively quickly, some cases can lead to ‘significant long term problems’ like disabling pain and depression.

Malcolm Tarling, a spokesman for ABI said, “Insurers are determined to do all they can to expose these cheats so that more time can be given to treating genuine whiplash claimants.”

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