Government Should Innovate to Win Whiplash Fraud Battle

This article was published on: 03/2/16

Social media is all about innovation, a term that sadly seems lost on our Government. Facebook was developed as an innovation from a student named Mark Zuckerberg’s idea to improve his communication channel with people within his university campus. Now he is a billionaire and Facebook boasts over 1.5billion monthly active users.

Technology also follows that trend. Just look at the mobile device you have in your hand or in your pocket. Each year these devices develop new capabilities to adapt to modern societies needs and demands. The world around us constantly innovates to give us what we need.

With all this in mind, why is it then,  that the UK Government fails to innovate? Why is it that they constantly fail to adapt in the right way to crisis situations and rely on their age old morals of cut, cut, cut.

Going in to 2016, there is fresh uncertainty for the legal profession after the Government proposed to increase the small claims limit, a move that, if implemented, could see the doors shut at many law firms nationwide.

If you are one of the people that has bought into the notion and been fooled by insurer led propaganda that personal injury solicitors are the root of all evil, then you might think that this is a good thing. But what about the genuine personal injury victim? Who will help them get justice for the pain and suffering they have had forced upon them in the aftermath of an accident? Who will ensure that they can fund their recovery, put food on the table for them and their family or make ends meet while they are off work recovering?

Ask yourself the question? Is £5,000 a lot of money to you? Just think, in an ordinary world, what you could buy for that? A new car or a nice holiday. Maybe even a deposit towards a wedding or a house.

It is a lot of money and this is exactly why if someone requires that much to fund their rehabilitation following an accident that could and should have been avoided, it is completely reprehensible that they could be denied it, just because the Government can’t grasp innovation.

The Autumn Proposals to increase the small claims limit from £1,000 to £5,000 have been put forward by the Government because of the presence of fraud within the profession. This also couples with the fact that they have been sold on the promise from insurance companies, that if they implement the changes, UK car insurance premiums will decrease.

This same promise was made prior to LASPO and the Jackson Reforms, yet premiums remain as high as ever. Yet the Government are still happy to believe in it. Cutting the personal injury profession to shreds seems to be the only thing this Government knows how to do, but what if the Government were to try innovation instead  to address the issue of fraud?

Police in Wales recently showed them the way after they busted a ‘Crash for Cash’ ring using social media, most notably Facebook. That’s right Facebook was a key tool in helping bring these fraudsters to justice.

How? Well, the police were that convinced that their suspects were lying about insurance claims, so they took to Facebook to find out every detail they needed to know about them. Photos, Videos, Locations, Posts, Likes and friends were examined as they looked to build their case and their discoveries would ultimately lead to seven convictions, ranging from two to six years.

Gwent Police Force’s “Out of the box” or “innovative” thinking saw this ring being trapped and brought down, showing that there is an alternative way to beat fraudsters within the personal injury profession, without punishing the genuine accident victim, who ultimately, are the people who pay the most from the Government’s proposals.

What the Government need to understand is that fraudsters will move on and find another profession to take advantage of. It is no skin off their nose how they manage to defraud the state, just as so long they can do it. The genuine accident victim does not have such choices. If they get hurt, then they need help. which should be funded by the person responsible for their accident.

There is no way, in any world, that it is right that someone who has suffered an injury because of somebody else’s negligent actions, should be left to fend for themselves, or without the option of recompense.

The Government talking about reducing fraud is one thing, but why don’t they take a deeper look into the root cause of fraud. Who is it that, despite seeing their nefarious claims history, continues to allow these fraudsters to take out insurance policies in bulk? Who is it that still to this day, refuses to share fraud data with the personal injury profession so that repeat offenders can be monitored? Who is it that told us prior to LASPO and the Jackson Reforms that insurance premiums will come down, when in fact they went up?

These questions all have the same answer and thanks to the Government’s inability to innovate with their thought process, innocent motorists are going to be forced to suffer in silence, while they continue to rake in the profits. That, or they will be expected to take the courts on themselves as a litigant in person (LiP) and face a possible trouncing from a highly trained insurance lawyer.

Some people may have heard or seen these headlines through social media or even through the old fashioned route on the TV news and thought this is all about the end for ‘pesky personal injury solicitors’. How pesky will those solicitors be if, and when, you have suffered an injury on the road or at work because of somebody else’s negligence and you are forced to carry the financial burden of your recovery?

It is time the Government tackled fraud legitimately, without wiping out the ability for genuine claimants to get the justice they not only deserve but are entitled to. It is time for the Government to innovate, perhaps in a similar way to Gwent Police force, in order to beat fraudsters. It is time for the cuts to access to justice to stop.

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