Aviva pressures Government to eradicate cash compensation for minor and short –term injuries
Aviva are now pressing the Government to get a move on with the personal injury reforms they announced in last year's Autumn Statement. The insurance giants are urging for a complete ban on compensation for minor and short term injuries such as Whiplash.
Whilst false claims are apparently costing insurance providers millions each year and increasing premium rates, the question arises as to whether the focus should be on banning cold callers and limiting the ways in which some people are taking advantage of the industry.
Neil Sugarman, president of the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (Apil) said:
It is clearly aiming at the wrong target. The Government needs to focus on banning cold calling for personal injury and forcing the insurance industry to deal with its dysfunctional credit hire and vehicle repair practices.
Aviva also request limitations on the involvement of lawyers in small claims. They state that lawyer's should only be used when their expertise is required. Restrictions to legal assistance can lead to a major injustice for those genuinely suffering from actual injuries due to no fault of their own. The burden of making a claim should not be put on those trying to recover from an accident. It cannot be expected of victims of road traffic accidents to build up a case and vigilantly adhere to Civil Procedure Rules and Pre-action protocols.
Sugarman stated that the proposals to prevent victims of whiplash from claiming compensation in full “would only set back our legal rights hundreds of years,” adding that the removal of general damages for some claims is “a cruel and misplaced remedy”.
The insurance giants argue that whiplash injuries alone add £93 to the average motor insurance premium and that we must tackle Britain's 'claims culture'. They have also proposed a reduced limitation period of making claims to 12 months and, they suggest that insurers provide free treatment and care for up to three months as opposed to cash compensation.
Spokespeople for Aviva on the one hand, argue there is a “plague” and a “pandemic” of fraudulent Whiplash claims yet only admit to investigating only about 5% of their overall claims received for fraud. It is argued by many in the legal sector that to punish 95% of honest claimant's would be unjust.
Figures from the government’s own Department for Work and Pensions reveal whiplash claims have fallen by 41 per cent since 2010/11.
By Rebecca Foster, Paralegal
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