Why do people fake whiplash? by Lucy Kessler

July 8th, 2013 in Car Safety

Poor insurance companies.

I know, it’s not what people normally say – certainly not after they’ve just renewed their insurance! Premiums are always going up, and one of the main reasons for that is false whiplash claims.

The ABI (Associate of British Insurers) now think that over a quarter of whiplash claims are frauds – and what an easy fraud it is! With so few insurers checking whether the claim is genuine, all the person has to do is pretend to have had a sore neck for a few weeks, and they could get up to £20,000. But my sympathy here is mostly for the insurance companies – after all, it’s not their fault that people will always try to cheat the system, and I bet they’re no happier to pay out for claims they suspect are false than we are to receive the higher premiums that come as a direct consequence. As I said, it’s an easy injury to pretend to have, and the insurers have found that it’s much easier to just believe people than to try and force them to prove they have an injury.

Whiplash- fake or real?

Confused.com  the car insurance website, says that there is now technology which can test whether or not someone is actually suffering whiplash, or if they’re just faking it for the pay-out. But this tech has clearly not made it to the UK, which is now “the Whiplash Capital in Europe”. Hopefully it will come sooner rather than later, because as well as hitting insurance companies and drivers who have to pay the premiums, false whiplash claims waste a huge amount of GPs’ precious time, and  therefore the NHS money. Can you believe over half the GPs in the UK would have been phoned at least once this year by companies offering to buy details of car accident sufferers? And if the GPs give out this information, or if the companies get it by another source, then they phone up the people involved and nag them until they agree to seek a claim.

It’s easy to see why people agree to seek a claim – they can get an average of £9,512, just because! And they don’t have to spend it on medical expenses either – Aviva reckon an equal amount of people spend their claim money on paying off their debt as those who spend it on medical fees, and a massive 21% of people just spend it on luxuries like TVs or holidays.

Of course, it’s not all “poor insurance companies”. If they actually went to the injured person’s insurance company, and tried forcing the claim, I bet most people would fold before they went to the doctors to try and get proof of their injury. The reason they don’t is because they don’t want to seem to be the bad guys, and they’re worried that people will go to the doctors, and end up costing the company more in the end. But I bet most of the liars would refuse, and then our premiums could drop by about £60, which would certainly be a relief for me! And of course, that way the fakers won’t get away with lying and that would also be a relief – after all, why should they get the money if they haven’t actually been hurt?

No- claims discount

Not only does it hurt the other driver, who will lose their no-claims discount, but it makes people who’ve actually suffered whiplash, and use the money to pay their medical expenses, look bad as well. The other thing they could do is just stop people backdating claims – a large proportion of claims are dated from  2010 and 2011, which also seems ridiculous – surely if they were hurt three years ago, they wouldn’t have waited all this time to claim? Still, easier said than done, I guess – but I hope someone sorts something out!