Government urged to rethink whiplash reforms
Cycling UK is calling on the Government to rethink its proposals on reforming the ‘whiplash’ claims process when it comes to vulnerable road users.
Outlined by the Ministry of Justice in November 2016, the plans would see the right to compensation scrapped, or at least a cap put on the amount people can claim for minor whiplash injuries.
The Government suggests that capping compensation would see the average payout cut from £1,850 to a maximum of £425. Compensation would only be paid if a medical report was provided as proof of injury. It is also expected that the move would help insurers cut premiums.
However, Cycling UK says under the current reforms motorcyclists, cyclists and pedestrians could lose access to justice, despite not being part of the perceived ‘compensation culture’ the reforms aim to tackle.
As a result, the charity, which has teamed up with Fletchers Solicitors, is calling for the Government to rethink its proposals and draw a clear distinction between claims from different types of road users.
Government to ‘crackdown’ on whiplash claims
17 November 2016
Both organisations say that the Government’s ‘blanket approach’ fails to take into account that vulnerable road users are rarely, if ever, involved in the type of fraudulent claims that are being blamed for the soaring cost of car insurance.
They also argue that the proposals do not recognise the more complex nature of collisions involving vulnerable road users, adding that injuries more complex because they do not have the added protection of a vehicle, and the question of who is to blame is twice as likely to be disputed in motorcycle cases compared to the average motor claim.
Duncan Dollimore, Cycling UK’s senior road safety officer, said: “The Government keeps repeating that these reforms are designed to tackle fraudulent and exaggerated whiplash claims.
“Dressing these proposals up as whiplash reforms, when the impact extends far beyond whiplash claims, is inaccurate, lacks transparency, and demeans the pain and suffering of many innocent victims of crashes on our roads.
“Whiplash claims by vulnerable road users, such as cyclists, are a real rarity. That’s because cyclists incur more extreme physical impact injuries like fractured collarbones and wrists when they hit metal or tarmac.”
Ed Fletcher, CEO of Fletchers Solicitors, says: “The Government’s latest plans to crack down on fraudulent whiplash claims threaten to seriously harm the rights of vulnerable road users.
“While I’m sure we can all agree on the need to clamp down on fraudulent claims, the Government also needs to recognise that its current proposals will put vulnerable road users at a substantial disadvantage.”