Lawyers body says government ‘naïve’

Insurers won't pass on whiplash savings - lawyers

The government is “naïve” to think insurers will pass on to policyholders any savings from “profoundly unfair” proposed whiplash reforms, according to a lawyer’s trade body.

“Removing damages for genuine whiplash cases and making claimants injured at work, on the roads and in hospitals, jump through higher hoops to obtain their compensation, victimises people who have been injured through no fault of their own,” said Neil Sugarman, president of the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL).

“Furthermore, the government is naïve enough to believe that the savings insurers will make on paying compensation will result in lower insurance premiums,” he said.

“Insurance industry figures show quite clearly that the industry has made savings of around £500m a year since the last round of personal injury reforms three years ago but premiums have actually increased by 8% during the same period.”

“Insurers will make the savings and keep them, while vulnerable injured people will subsidise an industry which already makes huge profits for its shareholders.”

Sugarman pointed to the plan to limit compensation for a whiplash injury with symptoms which last for six months to £400.

“That is six months of pain, six months of sleepless nights, six months of not being able to look after young children properly and even, for some, six months without work,” he said.

“I would receive almost the same amount if I were travelling from London to Glasgow and my train was delayed by two hours.

“It’s as if people with injuries which should never have happened in the first place are just an inconvenience which can casually be brushed aside.”