An academic has appealed to insurers for funds to support further research into the use of ultrasound to assess the severity of whiplash injuries.

Dr Mandy Roshier of the University of Nottingham said ultrasound had been found to be effective in diagnosing neck problems.

Roshier said: "We conducted investigations on patients and ultrasound showed up swelling and bleeding in the neck muscles. With more research we could show the extent of injuries and speed up treatment."

She said ultrasound could also help to weed out false whiplash claims.

Roshier added: "The work has been put on ice as we need support, ideally from insurers. I am looking for funding for a Phd student to conduct further research and do more tests."

Each year insurers deal with around 250,000 claims for whiplash injuries following motor accidents.

Meanwhile, the ABI has backed a whiplash research project undertaken at Manchester University, where 1,500 people attending hospital with a neck injury were analysed, of which 1,400 had contacted an insurer following an accident.

The study identified the likelihood of people involved in road traffic collisions suffering from a whiplash injury and assessed the factors that indicate when claimants are at high risk of developing chronic problems.

As a result of the analysis a claims management tool was developed that should enable insurers to be able to identify those people who are at higher risk of facing chronic problems, to ensure they receive rehabilitation.