Numbers for motor injury claims are at ‘historic lows’, says ACSO executive

The number of personal injury motor claims remains on a downward trajectory, according to the latest data from the Compensation Recovery Unit (CRU), published today (28 April 2022).

This data shows that only 97,099 motor injury claims were made between 1 January and 31 March 2022. This was a decrease from 98,774 in the period between 1 October and 31 December 2021.

The Department for Work and Pension’s CRU recovers social security benefits and NHS costs in certain compensation or injury cases. Its data on claims has been released following a freedom of information request from the Association of Consumer Support Organisations (ACSO).

The most recent CRU data mirrors motor injury claims trends observed during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, when traffic volumes were suppressed.

Between 1 April and 30 June 2020, for example, 94,973 of these claims were made – just 2,126 fewer than in the latest period.

Pre-pandemic, between 1 October and 31 December 2019, 181,131 claims for motor injury were recorded by the CRU.

Even during the pandemic, between 1 October and 31 December 2020, this figure reached 139,758.

CRU volume data

Source: Compensation Recovery Unit

Post-pandemic normality?

Matthew Maxwell Scott, executive director of ACSO, said: “The government says the country is returning to post-pandemic normality, but for motor accident claims, the numbers suggest we could still be in lockdown.

“If traffic levels are now back to where they were, albeit perhaps less at peak hours, it means injured people are not claiming, or their claims are lost in the system.

“Whatever the reason, it is worrying that people injured in accidents that weren’t their fault are not receiving [the] help and recompense they are entitled to.”

The new CRU data follows the Motor Insurers’ Bureau’s (MIB) release of its Official Injury Claim (OIC) portal data earlier this month (11 April 2022).

The OIC portal figures showed that the number of claims being made through the system remained low – 95,266 claims were submitted in the period between 1 December and 31 March 2022.

Historic lows

While data from the OIC and CRU is not directly comparable, both batches reveal an underlying trend.

Maxwell Scott added: “The overall numbers for motor injury claims over the last year remain at historic lows.

“Our view that the system is letting down injured people hasn’t changed. They are getting less compensation and the claims process in the form of the new OIC portal, which the government says is user friendly, doesn’t work at all well.

“If consumers do want to fight for justice in court, they face a delay of more than a year.”

The UK government implemented the OIC portal in May 2021, representing the fruition of the first part of its Civil Liability Act 2018 – colloquially known as the whiplash reform.

“The government said it wanted to fix a broken system through the Civil Liability Act, but it is perhaps more broken than ever,” Maxwell Scott said.

Last month (March 2022), the Ministry of Justice published its response to the consultation on the second part of the whiplash reform, revealing no change to current credit hire or rehabilitation processes.