Government plans backlash on whiplash claims

The Government is to introduce a new proposal to reduce the number of whiplash claims that are pushing up insurance premium prices for motorists across the nation.

Justice secretary Chris Grayling has launched a consultation to create a number of new independent medical panels tasked with improving diagnosis of whiplash injuries and reducing the number of spurious claims.

It’s the latest step in recent Government moves to reduce costs for the average motorist.

“For too long honest drivers have been bearing the price of a system that has been open to abuse and it is time for that to change,” said Grayling.

Since 2006, personal injury claims following car accidents have risen by an astonishing 60%. This is despite vehicles becoming safer and accident rates decreasing by a fifth over the same period.

It is the scale of the whiplash epidemic across the UK, and the costs associated with it, that has led the Government to act.

Industry figures put the number of whiplash claims lodged at 1,500 per day, and it’s estimated that personal injury claims for ailments such as this cost the industry – or more to the point the individual motorist – £2 billion in 2010. That’s around £90 per policy.

The average insurance price for 36-40-year-olds currently stands at £502 according to, so removing the extra cost of whiplash built into your policy could reduce the price of your cover by nearly 20%.

The whiplash consultation goes hand-in-hand with changes to the law that will be introduced from April next year, seeing a rebalancing of no-win no-fee deals so losing defendants won’t have to pay success fees to the claimant’s party.

‘Referral fees’ will be banned too, meaning companies will no longer be able to profit from selling on someone’s personal injury claim.

The principal behind the changes are to redress the claim culture in the insurance industry and commit to pass on customer savings through reforms to litigation costs.

RAC Verdict

The consultation into whiplash claims by the Government has to be a good thing. As female insurance prices are set to rise this month following the introduction of a European Court of Justice gender equality ruling, it’s a beacon of hope for motorists looking to curb expenditure on driving.