David Cameron’s coalition is currently on a mission to stop spurious whiplash claims from going to court and taking up judges’ time and taxpayer’s money but is the review missing a key fact?
Improved safety = more survivors
Since the introduction of compulsory safety belts and the development of crumple zones, airbags and internal cages many accidents that would have resulted in multiple deaths are now producing no fatalities, just a few dazed drivers and passengers who’ve been shaken as brutally as a brick in a tumble dryer!
In the past, when these people would have died there would be little trouble when it came to insurance and compensation claims. If you survived you were reasonably assured to get the healthcare you required and if you were driving and the accident wasn’t your fault you could look forward to getting your car replaced under your insurance. Those days (unfortunately for some) are over. These days we have a group of walking wounded whose immediate treatment is provided under the NHS but other considerations are ignored. Passengers in cars hit by negligent drivers won’t be insured themselves and so are reliant on the insurance of the two drivers. If there are any disputes or problems processing the claims then the most innocent of all concerned are the last ones to be considered in the apportioning of compensation, not withstanding that they are just as likely to have had to take time off work, make hospital and physio visits as well as all the other costs concerned with surviving a car accident.
Because the numbers of surviving accident victims are rising while the number of RTAs follows the same seasonal trends it appears, upon the surface, that all these people with neck injuries are coming from nowhere. And if they are coming from nowhere they are probably spurious claims made by people trying to make a fast buck out of the system.
It’s true that some people might make claims when they’ve been in accidents at low speeds with low impact. They feel a degree of stiffness and put this down to ‘whiplash’ and attempt to make a claim for additional personal injuries against the other driver’s insurance company. It’s commonly believed that whiplash is hard to identify as it has few external manifestations; all the damage is to soft tissue, nerves and ligaments that are seated well within the neck. This is true, however, advances in x-ray machines and MRI scanners means that such physical damage is now quite simple to identify.
The simple fact that such tissue injuries are now so easily identified should mean that extra legislation brought against accident victims should be unnecessary. If people have been badly hurt notwithstanding the injuries are invisible to the naked eye, the damage is easy enough to see using modern technology. If they haven’t been as badly hurt as they claim, this is also equally as identifiable. A routine MRI or x-ray examination after an accident would mean that any new laws and fatuous claims are unnecessary.
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