The compensationclaims.net blog has discussed previously how an increasing number of phoney compensation claims is inflating the annual cost of insurance premiums for drivers in the UK. As it currently stands, 76% of all personal injury claims resulting from road accidents are for whiplash injuries – twice the average for other European countries.
The insurance industry is determined to crack down on the number of whiplash claims which are successful and their method for this is to implement an assessment which has been dubbed as a “lie detector test.” Rather than being a set up that measures stress levels, heart rate and/or skin moisture to detect fibs though, the so-called Whiplash Injury Toolkit – or WITkit – is a piece of computer software which can determine how likely someone is to be lying about a whiplash injury.
The software allows a person to enter details such as the weight of the vehicles involved in an incident, the speed each was travelling and the visible damage to each motor. WITkit will then predict the plausibility of the claim being made.
Peter Shaw – chief executive of Thatcham (the industry’s automotive text centre) has said that early indications of the software are “very positive” and that the WITkit has the ability to “accelerate the claims process.” The Thatcham Motor Insurance Repair Research Centre is the ideal place to trial the software, since they are renowned globally for their work in rating different car seats in relation to neck injury prevention.
The WITkit has the potential to be wrong however, since even trained physicians are unable to detect the presence and extent of whiplash injuries. Substantial neck injuries could result from low speed collisions and in cars which are apparently not susceptible for such injuries and this could see people wrongly denied the monetary recompense that they deserve.
“[The WITkit] will be able to say that, for these five per cent, pay out straight away. And for those five per cent, don’t. But for the 90 per cent in the middle, we just don’t know”, contended Richard Cuerden, technical director for vehicle safety at the Transport Research Laboratory. Cuerden also argued that the only way that GP’s and insurers will ever get a full understanding of whiplash injuries is to begin extensive human testing.
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