The Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL) have recently compiled “The Whiplash Report 2012â€³ looking into the official statistics in relation to whiplash claims in the UK and around Europe. We are all aware that Insurance Companies are fighting tooth and nail and, unfortunately succeeding in attempting to reduce access to justice to injured parties of road traffic accidents.
The Insurance Companies main plan of attack seems to be to bamboozle the Government with figures all the while claiming that Claimant Solicitors are making a mint from conducting these claims. Just look at a recent survey carried out by APIL, of the 4,000 they questioned, only one in 100 had suffered a whiplash injury in the last 12 months and of those, 40% had not made a claim, hardly and epidemic! APIL then looked into the influence of different parties over people who are injured in road traffic accidents and found that just under 30% of all claims were encouraged by Insurance Companies and only 21% were encouraged by a lawyer, almost the same as those encouraged by friends or family (18%). Alongside this, the majority of people who suffer whiplash injuries recovered within a couple of months.
In their report, APIL also addressed the Insurance Companies assertion that we have the highest number of road traffic accident claims in Europe however, according to the World Bank figures (2008) the UK has the highest number of vehicles per kilometre of road compared to other European countries. Indeed, the United Kingdom has 77 vehicles per kilometre of road whilst the European Union average is just 43 vehicles per kilometre of road. It naturally follows that a larger number of cars per kilometre of road would mean a larger number of accidents, et voila Insurance Companies have their statistic sound bite to slip under the door of Whitehall. Unfortunately, Insurance Companies do not feel the need to provide either the public or the government with the full range of figures, only presenting those which appear to be in their favour.
We should also remember that while the Insurance Companies are focusing on whiplash claims, the number of serious injuries and fatalities caused in road traffic accidents has decreased significantly. Car design and construction and seatbelt legislation has led to an enormous decrease in the number of fatalities, facial injuries and serious head injuries that are suffered however, that has resulted in an increase in the more minor injury, whiplash claims. Again, the Insurance Companies have presented the figures that claim whiplash is on the rise but they haven’t factored in the fact that hundreds of thousands of people’s lives have been saved as a result of technological and statutory advancements, but those people have not got away from serious accidents scott free rather, they have suffered a much less severe injury than they might have.
So, what to do with this information? Well, the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers who prepared the report are currently considering a judicial review into the lawfulness and fairness of the governments proposed extensions to the portal, including the way fixed fees are being set. It appears that the Government, under massive influence from Insurance Companies, are attempting to price Solicitors out of the market in relation to road traffic accidents. If fixed fees are so low that firms of Solicitors can no longer afford to carry out road traffic accident claims then, it seems that the Government are hoping that this will discourage people from claiming however, the Government have forgotten one vital thing, the Access to Justice Act 1999, affording members of the public the opportunity to pursue legal action as a basic right. Further, this will only serve to allow Insurance Companies even more opportunity to short change injured victims of road accidents by offering lower compensation, knowing that Claimants will not be able to find a firm of Solicitors who can afford to offer the opportunity to seek independent legal advice.
Should you require free legal advice about injuries suffered in a road traffic accident contact our specialist team of lawyers on 033 0330 01103 or have a look at our website. – See more at: http://jordanssolicitors.net/jordanspersonalinjury/2012/11/16/do-we-have-the-weakest-necks-in-europe-or-are-insurance-companies-taking-us-for-a-ride/#sthash.tm0Cwo9L.dpuf