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Tuesday, 19 April 2016

Why have our Government got it in for honest motorists and other victims?

If you believed all you heard from the insurance industry and its friends in Government, it would easy to think that anybody who claims compensation is a crook. Time and time again we have seen attacks on the rights of accident victims which are justified on the basis of need to ‘crack down’ on fraud.

In November last year, George Osborne came out with his infamous proposals to raise the small claims limit to £5k, thus depriving most accident victims of the right to recover legal costs. He also pledged to abolish the right to claim any damages for whiplash injuries –

He declared that this was necessary in order to crack down on the fraud and claims culture in motor insurance. So the problem of fraudulent claims is so widespread that the rights of all victims have to be compromised. 

Back in 2014 the ABI said –

‘We are actively working with the insurance industry and the government to eliminate fraudulent and exaggerated claims and make the system more efficient for genuine claimants.’

Those ‘genuine’ claimants are, as ever, the ones who suffer most from these attacks.

In fact there is no evidence of widespread fraud. The Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL) have today used the insurers own figures to illustrate this. According to their President, Jonathan Wheeler – 

“A proper analysis of the insurance industry’s own figures shows that only 0.25 per cent of motor claims are actually proven to be fraudulent. That includes policy-holders over-egging their own claims, or making false declarations when they apply for insurance. Only a fraction of those will be whiplash claims – we don’t know how many for certain, because there are no industry figures on this Yet the government claims that removing the right to compensation for some whiplash claims will fight fraud and reduce car insurance premiums.”

An epidemic of fraudulent claims is as much a myth as the so called compensation culture. The overwhelming majority of claimants are genuine. Like this victim who desribed her experience in a very powerful this week – 

We all want to see an end to dishonest claims. There are already systems in place to achieve this. We have seen a very recently example. This is the case of the claimant who alleged that he was unable to play football whilst tweeting about his achievements in the beautiful game –

He has been found out and dealt with appropriately. We have a criminal justice system to deal with dishonesty.

To attack the rights of all victims is unnecessary, illogical and will not ultimately result in any great drop in insurance premiums.

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