Bristol academic debunks ‘whiplash capital’ myth

This article was published on: 05/4/17

Tort Law Professor, Ken Oliphant, has published findings that suggests  the UK has a better record for whiplash claims than some say. Delving into European statistics, the interesting findings place the UK underneath others for more than one category of defining whiplash.

Skewing data

The insurers regularly present data regarding whiplash that fits their agenda.. For example, insurers insinuate that the “type of person” to claim is often those with low income who need cash. These insinuations tend to be made around the time when claims are most common (that being Christmas, Easter and the summer holidays).

However, that same data also betrays itself. In reality, there are  more cars and people are on the roads driving during these periods. This is due to much of the UK being off work and children being out of school. With more traffic on the roads, the likelihood of an accident vastly increases.

In his research, professor Oliphant alludes to the data the insurers  use to claim that the UK is the “whiplash capital of Europe” as a flimsy one. He states that the basis of their argument is made on unreliable data, which they cherry pick to support their “specific reform agendas”.

Competition from central Europe

Professor Oliphant’s  research looks at comparative metrics from the rest of Europe. Results indicate that the UK are far from being the front runner in many categories. Overall, the cost of bodily injuries was dramatically less in the UK than Italy, France and Germany.

Further statistics supporting the UK, suggests that the cost of a cervical trauma claims in the UK is also lower  than Holland, Switzerland, Italy and Norway. Furthermore, a statistic many  consider the biggest indictor is overall claims. The UK, once again, boast less than  Germany and Italy  by more than a million claims each.

This data suggests that the insurers tailor much of their rhetoric surrounding personal injury claims to fit their goals.Given the recent push for further whiplash reform, it would be foolish to think the insurance industry did not purposely select data to promote the need for reform.

Given that so many countries have more whiplash claims overall (and with higher costs) it is puzzling how anyone can claim that the UK is in fact the “whiplash capital”.

Fighting for claimants

The legal industry has been fighting the corner of claimants for years and continues to do so. What the insurance industry often forgets is that whiplash or any minor injury can seriously affect lives  for months afterwards. Even somebody in good health can suffer back and neck problems in an accident. These problems can prevent them from taking part in regular activities, or spending time with family. It is also common for whiplash to affect their ability to work for a matter of weeks or months.

Insurers want to push the notion that the claimants are looking for money; not offsetting the cost of injury. We are very confident claimants would rather not be suffer injury at all.

You should never be afraid to claim if you suffer an injury that is affecting you. If somebody has been negligent, causing you harm in the process then you have every right to claim compensation. If you, a family member or friend are suffering because of an injury and you wish to seek help, we are on hand to help.

Our lines are open weekdays from 9am to 7pm at 01695 722 222. We offer free, honest, impartial, conscientious advice and are happy to speak with you.

Alternatively,  you can get in touch online using our claim form here. Simply give us some basic details of your injury and we can give our recommendations to you. We offer no win no fee legal services taking the risk away from you.

If you have any questions about making a claim please do get in touch and see what Scott Rees & Co can do to help you!


  1. Bristol University;