Some of the largest insurance companies representing a majority of the insurance industry have expressed their view that whiplash injury claims compensations should be abolished. The chief of the motor and liability for the Association of British Insurers, James Dalton has called for a policy debate to be conducted as a matter of public interest. Mr Dalton stated that all low-value claims for damages should be removed and instead the insurers should only be required to pay for any subsequent treatment directly. This will be the first time that a debate on a complete removal of whiplash injury compensation will take place although Mr Dalton has in the past called for a moot on whether the damages paid to victims claiming whiplash should be reduced.
At a conference held in London called the Modern Claims he stated “we need a debate about whether someone should be awarded money for a low-value, low-impact and very minor injury claim”. The main issue at question is whether victims should be provided with rehabilitation rather than fill their pockets with cash. This comes amid many statistics forecasting large amounts of whiplash being faked by people in accident often of the mildest collision. Mr Dalton stated that this debate is one of utmost importance to society and that politicians are ought to decide on.
Further, the chief representing the insurance industry stated that although ABI is currently in the process of creating safeguards to encourage the government to increase the small claims limit, he aimed criticism at the fees charged by solicitors in low-value claims. Last year, the Ministry of Justice decided not to increase the lower limit. However, in the opinion of Mr Dalton, this is subject to change ‘depending on the outcome of the election’. He further went on to question whether there is a place in the market for lawyers who represent clients claiming damages for low-value personal injury. In his speech he shared his vision that lawyers should place their efforts with those high value and complex cases and further stated that the upper limit of £5,000 will increase once again, as a matter of time.
On the other hand the Motor Accident Solicitors Society and Association of Personal Injury Lawyers stated their intentions to protect any attempts from the government or political groups to abolish whiplash compensation for victims. It is argued by Craig Budsworth that compensation should in any case always provide for loss of amenity as well as rehabilitation.