Whiplash and fraud – separating false claims from real ones

Whiplash injuries are not to be taken lightly and are a common side-effect of someone involved in a motor collision. Unfortunately, while whiplash can be a very real outcome of an accident, a history of false claims can make it difficult for a genuine victim to get their voice heard and gain the compensation they are owed.

Why Is Whiplash Fraud So Common?

While whiplash is a very real, and potentially serious injury, it’s also quite a nebulous condition that can be quite hard to prove or verify. It’s because of this grey area that fraudulent whiplash claims are a common problem faced by insurers.

False whiplash claims range from exaggerating injuries obtained in real accidents to creating completely fictitious accidents that have either never occurred, or did not involve the individuals making the claims.

Separating genuine claims from fraudulent ones can be difficult as the ‘seriousness’ of an accident is not an effective way to measure the merit of a claim.  Even seemingly low speed collisions can give rise to injury, particularly when the vehicles involved are disproportionately sized or weighted and it’s this that can makes it difficult for insurers to separate the fraudulent claims from the genuine ones.

Changing Attitudes 

To combat the threat of fraud, both insurers and the courts are taking steps to both better understand whiplash and deter false claims.

Reforms brought in by the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 (LASPO) there is now a much more proportionate and cost effective platform for defendants to tackle the false claims for whiplash injuries.

As well as this, major insurers are taking steps to better understand whiplash. For example, AXA has recently worked with Thatcham to develop their understanding of how varying speeds and vehicle construction can play a part in the likelihood of injury in their attempt to both tackle fraud and help genuine claimants receive fair and proportionate compensation.

Increasingly, fewer cases are solely declined on the mechanics of an accident but rather due to false or inconsistent statements in the presentation of a claim. Likewise, ‘credibility’ is now often a deciding factor the outcome of a claim, more so than conventional evidence. This is because a trial involving expert evidence and professional opinions tend to be drawn out and expensive, something which is not favored by the courts.

While this is all bad news for fraudsters, it has the knock-on effect of putting more pressure on genuine whiplash sufferers to effectively support their claim.

What This Means For You

If you, or one of your drivers, is involved in an accident and suffer whiplash, presenting your claim correctly and credibly is crucial in helping you secure the appropriate compensation. If you use an insurance broker, they could provide you with vital help in this situation by assisting you in preparing your claim, to help give you the best possible chance of receiving fair and timely compensation.

To find out more, call C&M Insurance on 01708 764 000 or email us at mail@cm-insurance.co.uk