There have been calls for MRI scans and X-rays to diagnose whiplash injuries and reduce false whiplash claims.
Melanie Lidstone-Land, expert personal injury lawyer at Swain & Co explains, “Whiplash is a soft tissue injury. Unfortunately, due to the nature of the injury, it would be difficult for MRI scans to show evidence of whiplash.”
Melanie represents many victims of road traffic accidents, and is concerned that if the measure was introduced in the UK, those who are genuinely suffering from whiplash could lose out on not only compensation, but on rehabilitation also which could slow their recovery and, of course, ultimately increase the cost to the compensating insurance company.
Insurance company AXA is asking the government to follow suit with France and Sweden where whiplash injury is only recognised if there is clear evidence through an MRI scan or X-ray. In Sweden there is also a time limit restriction for the onset of symptoms related to whiplash injury.
AXA is calling for both measures to be introduced into UK legislation.
Insurers report that false whiplash claims are costing UK motorists an extra £90 to their premium.
Melanie comments, “There is no evidence that premiums for UK motorists will fall as a result of such measures being introduced. Fixed fees for lawyers have been applied to low value road traffic accidents since 2010 and we have yet to see a decrease on insurance premiums.”
“We fully support the need to eliminate false whiplash claims, but not at the expense of those who are genuinely injured and need assistance.”
Melanie adds, “The vast and overwhelming majority of lawyers who conduct these claims on behalf of victims of road traffic accidents are experienced and would NEVER advocate false claims or allow a Client to present such a claim. The government has already put measures in place to ensure that there is a specific structure to such claims. There is absolutely no need to prejudice potential Claimants’ by forcing them to produce yet more evidence which is costly, time consuming and certainly does not provide victims of such accidents with access to justice.”