General Insurance Article - ABI comment on reforms to whiplash claims in new Bill


James Dalton, Director of General Insurance Policy, Association of British Insurers, said:

 “The reforms to whiplash claims set out in the Bill cannot come soon enough. For far too long claimant lawyers have been defending a system riddled with exaggerated and fraudulent claims because they have been profiting handsomely from it.
  
 The gravy train must stop. Motorists know that the UK's roads have been getting ever safer, so why have whiplash style claims been rising? People want an insurance claims system that provides compensation and support to those who genuinely need it. What they don't want is to be plagued by spam calls and texts from ambulance chasers, whilst personal injury lawyers continue to profit from a broken system in urgent need of reform.
  
 Background
 On 17 November the Ministry of Justice published proposals to tackle the unacceptably high level of whiplash-related personal injury claims in our submission we:
 -Backed the Government’s proposals to limit compensation for minor soft tissue injuries, such as whiplash, neck and shoulder pain, to loss of earnings, medical costs and rehabilitation care.
 -Calls for minor soft tissue injury to be defined as injuries where major symptoms last for 6 months or less.
 -Supported raising the Small Claims Track Limit for road traffic accident claims from £1,000 to £5,000. This will limit legal costs in settling lower value claims. Initially this should apply to road traffic accident claims, being extended to all personal injury claims at a later date.
 -To safeguard the interests of claimants there should be an easy, accessible and consumer-friendly process developed.
 -Strongly supported the introduction of a tariff of fixed compensation payments for soft tissue injury claims. This would ensure a clear, transparent system is in place to compensate those with a soft tissue injury.           

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