Whiplash assessment report fees cut to tackle fake claims

 
A man with whiplash

Related Stories

Medical assessment fees for people who claim they have suffered whiplash are to be cut in England and Wales.

The move is the latest government bid to crack down on fraudulent claims and the so-called "compensation culture".

Charges of up to £700 for an initial medical report will be reduced to £180, Justice Secretary Chris Grayling said.

The government hopes a fixed rate will stop experts who produce the reports from having an incentive to encourage claimants to get unnecessary treatment.

About 500,000 whiplash insurance claims are made each year, many of which are thought to be bogus.

Insurers say they push up drivers' premiums by as much as £90 a year.

The new measures are the latest announced by the government to tackle bogus claims, with the new focus on compensation companies and a minority of medical staff who ministers claim are overcharging people.

'Drive out fraud'

"We're saying that doctors should be paid a fixed price for that work," Mr Grayling said.

"And we're saying that across the claims process we should have a structure that makes sure that people are paid for what they really do, that claims that go through are genuine and that we drive out some of the practices that are inflating insurance premiums unnecessarily."

He said the new rules - to be introduced in October - would reflect the amount of time it took to carry out the assessments and write them up.

An x-ray of a neck and skull Some 500,000 whiplash claims are made each year

"Honest drivers have been bearing the cost of a system that has been open to abuse and it is time for a change," he said.

"We are determined to have an improved, robust system for medical evidence - so genuine claims can still be settled but fraud is driven out of the market."

Whiplash is caused by sudden movement of the head which damages the ligaments and tendons in the neck, with symptoms including neck pain and stiffness.

Recent reforms in England and Wales have recently targeted "no win, no fee" deals, with lawyers now unable to double their fees if they are successful.

A number of changes are progressing through Parliament in the Criminal Justice and Courts Bill, including plans to stop law firms offering incentives to potential clients.

'Stubbornly high'

Other new rules include allowing courts to throw out any compensation case where part of the claim has proved to be fundamentally dishonest.

Mr Grayling said insurance companies would be urged not to accept claims without a doctor's report - evidence of an injury.

"Every time they accept a claim without a report, some of those that shouldn't be made are slipping through and that's just boosting insurance premium costs," he warned.

The AA said while premiums had dipped recently, the number of claims remained "stubbornly high" and that meant they could go back up.

 

More on This Story

Related Stories

Comments

This entry is now closed for comments

Jump to comments pagination
 
  • rate this
    -24

    Comment number 69.

    As a whiplash sufferer....Had a quite a nasty accident in 2005 where I was hit from behind and I am still suffering from it....Case was resolved too quickly, I can understand that £700 might be considered too much but considering the 10-15 page reports that are generated which have to be accurate enough for courts of law, then I would say its a "going rate".

  • rate this
    -27

    Comment number 28.

    As a personal injury lawyer I must say that doctors who prepare reports get paid regardless of the outcome of the case. They are not allowed to enter into an agreement whereby if the case fails they don't get paid. Therefore the doctor is as much likely to say a claimant had no whiplash as they are to say a claimant does. The doctor gets paid regardless.

 
 

More UK stories

RSS

Features & Analysis

  • Prostitute in red light district in Seoul, South KoreaSex for soldiers

    How Korea helped prostitutes work near US military bases


  • LuckyDumped

    The rubbish collector left on the scrap heap as his city cleans up


  • A woman gets a Thanksgiving meal at a church in FergusonFamily fears

    Three generations in Ferguson share Thanksgiving reflections


  • Canada joins TwitterTweet North

    Canada's self-deprecating social media feed


Elsewhere on the BBC

  • IslandsUnmapped places

    Will the age-old quest to capture uncharted land and space ever end?

Programmes

  • All-inclusive holidaysThe Travel Show Watch

    With all-inclusive holidays seeing a resurgence are local trades missing out to big resorts?

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.