Borough’s whiplash epidemic

Whiplash injury
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WIGANERS are more likely to make an injury claim after a road smash than motorists almost anywhere else in the country.

New figures show that a massive 46.3 per cent of drivers tried to gain compensation following an accident.

The number of claims for injuries such as whiplash put the borough fifth in a national table whose upper reaches are monopolised by North West towns and cities.

The Institute and Faculty of Actuaries statistics show that Liverpool tops the league for the second year running with 55.2 per cent of crash victims trying to claim financial redress, followed by Oldham, Manchester and Bolton.

Contrast these figures with the bottom of the table which is exclusively Scottish and sees only 13.8 per cent of Aberdeen motorists putting in injury claims.

The IoFA report came just a week after Chancellor George Osoborne announced he was abolishing the right to cash compensation for minor whiplash injuries in a bid to reduce costs for insurance providers and drivers.

One of the report’s authors, David Brown, called for an investigation into the regional discrepancies. He said: “The link between the location of the highest third party injury claims in the UK and the number of claims management companies should be reviewed.

“The government announced last week in the Autumn Statement plans to make it more difficult for people to claim compensation for exaggerated or fraudulent whiplash claims, by ending the right to cash payments and the ability for more cases to be taken to small claims court. They expect that these changes could reduce motor insurance premiums by £40 to £50 a year. Our analysis shows that this would be equivalent to stopping all third party injury claims under £13,000. The measures necessary to achieve this could be quite draconian and could affect legitimate whiplash claims.”

It has been alleged that in many parts of the country there is these days a thriving network of doctors, lawyers and professional motorists such as taxi drivers who all get involved in the claim process the moment one of the drivers has the slightest bump.

It is alleged that there is a particularly successful network operating in the North West, hence the high claim rates.