By Becci Snow, Chartered Legal Executive at Hudgell Solicitors
Today’s newspapers have brought yet another warning from a major motor insurance company that premiums are set to rise again – with whiplash claims again being highlighted as a reason for drivers being hit in the pocket.
According to a report in the national Daily Mail, one of the UK’s biggest insurance companies, Esure, which owns Sheilas’ Wheels and has more than 1.4million UK motor insurance policies, has warned it will raise premiums in the coming months after seeing a surge in personal injury claims.
The Mail claims that a rising number of ‘bogus whiplash claims’, together with a fall in petrol prices, is to blame, and will impact on millions of ‘honest motorists’.
It certainly makes for good headlines, and paints a picture of a worsening ‘compensation culture’ across the UK.
However, as specialists in handling claims involving road traffic accidents, we at Hudgell Solicitors know the reality is much different.
The Ministry of Justice has confirmed that the total number of annual whiplash claims has actually decreased by 70,000 over the past four years.
Latest figures from the government indicated a 23 per cent fall in whiplash claims for 2013/2014, compared to the previous year.
These are figures which certainly don’t support the insurers’ claims about there being a compensation culture. They are not evidence of an epidemic of whiplash claims, and in fact, they are quite the opposite.
Perhaps a question that could well now be asked is whether insurers are beginning to frighten off genuine claimants.
If anything, the overall number of whiplash claims falling significantly surely indicates that there is not a widespread culture of claiming, and could actually be a case for premiums being cut.
Importantly, our team of specialists at Hudgell Solicitors recognise that whiplash injuries can be the cause of significant pain, suffering, and financial loss for a victim.
Yes, symptoms can resolve very quickly in the majority of cases, but for some they can last for upwards of six months.
They can cause neck and lower back pain, muscle tightness and spasms and reduced range of movement and neck tenderness. Potentially, it can cause loss of earnings if people have to take time off work, and a major disruption to day to day life.
With that in mind, there should be no feeling of guilt left hanging over anyone who seeks the compensation they genuinely deserve after suffering from whiplash after an accident.
We’ll certainly feel no guilt in supporting them with the legal representation they deserve.