The Government’s proposed whiplash reforms have been branded ‘naïve’ and ‘profoundly unfair’ by the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL).
The not-for-profit organisation’s president, Neil Sugarman, has said that removing damages for genuine whiplash cases and making claimants who have been injured at work, on the roads and in hospitals, jump through higher hoops to obtain their compensation, was a clear case of victimisation against people who had been injured through no fault of their own.
“Furthermore, the Government is naïve enough to believe that the savings insurers will make on paying compensation will result in lower insurance premiums,” said Sugarman (pictured).
“Insurance industry figures show quite clearly that the industry has made savings of around £500 million a year since the last round of personal injury reforms three years ago, but premiums have actually increased by eight per cent during the same period,” he added.
“Insurers will make the savings and keep them, while vulnerable injured people will subsidise an industry which already makes huge profits for its shareholders.”
He pointed out that one of the proposed whiplash reforms was to limit compensation available for a whiplash injury with symptoms which lasted 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.”
Last November, APIL said that Philip Hammond’s decision to raise Insurance Premium Tax (IPT) to 12% from June 2017, was “astounding”, given that he had maintained that the proposed whiplash reforms would deliver lower premiums for motorists.
In his first Autumn Statement as Chancellor, Hammond told Parliament in November that he would implement a third rise in IPT in two years. IPT was first increased to 9.5% from 6% from November 2015 and to 10% from October 2016 by Hammond’s predecessor, George Osborne.