Your headline ‘Government figures reveal whiplash claims in freefall’ is meaningless without context.
The government Compensation Recovery Unit’s figures for the number of claims registered show 790,999 in 2010/11 and 770,791 in 2015/16. This is a statistically irrelevant 2.6% drop.
Your article quotes, through information provided by the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL), the apparent reduction in ‘whiplash’ injuries since 2012/13. However, if one compares the overall number of motor claims from 2010/11 to now, any reduction in the number of ‘whiplash’ claims appears to be mirrored almost exactly by a corresponding increase in the number of non-whiplash claims.
‘Whiplash’ claims are generally recognised as being, on average, at the lower end of severity of injury suffered in motor claims. If these claims really have fallen by the dramatic level often quoted by APIL (41% since 2010/11) it must mean the number of more serious injuries has grown by almost exactly the same number. If this is true, the real story is not that ‘whiplash’ claims are down, but that more serious injuries are dramatically up.
Realistically, nothing could explain such a dramatic change in the nature of injuries suffered in RTAs during such a relatively brief period of time (with no significant changes in car design, seatbelt use, road congestion and so on).
The more likely explanation is that there has been no significant change in whiplash numbers, but that many claims have simply been ‘reclassified’, possibly as a result of the new rules concerning soft-tissue injuries. A rather less dramatic story than APIL would like to admit.
Simon Gibbs, costs lawyer, Gibbs Wyatt Stone, Enfield