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Insurers want whiplash claims limitation period cut

The logo for the Association of British Insurers (ABI)

Lloyds Market Association (LMA) has called for the limitation period for which a whiplash claim can be brought to be cut from 3 years to just 6 months, claiming that it would reduce the number and cost of whiplash claims in the UK.

In a recommendation submitted to the Transport Select Committee’s inquiry into whiplash, which is seen as very final chance for the personal injury sector to overturn the dramatic cuts to the way whiplash claims are dealt with, the LMA claimed making the reduction to the limitation period would also go a long way to reducing the number of frivolous and fraudulent claims being made.

LMA‘s underwriting manager, David Powell said: “A major difficulty is that the low barrier to success for whiplash claims, and the high cost of opposing them, often makes it uneconomic for defendants to mount a legal defence, even when claims are weak.

“Whiplash is a highly subjective injury: the accepted legal evidence of causation and injury is entirely based on doctors describing symptoms reports by the claimant – potentially up to three years after the event. We believe the proposals outlined by the LMA would be sufficient to reduce the frequency and cost of low value motor claims in the next few years.”

What Mr Powell fails to mention is that in a lot of cases symptoms for a whiplash injury can often take longer to become noticeable, which is why in a lot of cases the claim submission is delayed.

Decreasing the limitation period so significantly could in fact cost genuine injured parties compensation that by right they are entitled to and such changes would further the spiral of altering the balance of power in favour of the defendant, which the government started when they ruled that the injured party had to cover their own legal costs and not the defendant’s insurers.

Unsurprisingly the Lloyds Market Association sided with the government over proposals to increase the small claims limit from £1,000 to £5,000 as well and it now looks as though the personal injury sector are going to have to accept the government changes without much chance of a turnaround.

This evidence compiled with the revelations by findings produced by the Association of British Insurers (ABI) that Britain is the ‘Whiplash Capital of Europe’, makes for a nice set of propaganda in the favour of the government and is likely to lead another inquiry regarding whiplash to go the wrong way based on incomplete facts and unfounded evidence.

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