The MOJ yesterday opened consultation on proposals aimed at reducing the number and cost of whiplash claims.
In terms of the number of claims, the MOJ has cited research indicating that 70% of road traffic accident personal injury claims in the UK were related to whiplash, whereas the equivalent figures were 47% in Germany, 32% in Spain and 3% in France (http://www.justice.gov.uk/news/press-releases/moj/government-action-on-whiplash-claims).
Moreover, in terms of costs, the MOJ has noted research suggesting that Britain is the only country in Europe which has paid out as much in costs as it has in compensation for neck injuries in car accidents. One should query, however, whether this finding alone is indicative of a problem – is it not just as likely that higher costs were incurred because we have an adversarial, rather than an inquisitorial system?
The proposals the Government is consulting on are:
- Creating new independent medical panels to diagnose whiplash injuries.
- Increasing the small claims threshold for personal injury road traffic accident claims to £5,000, thereby reducing costs.
The consultation is now open until 8 March 2013 and can be found at https://consult.justice.gov.uk/digital-communications/reducing-number-cost-whiplash