The number of whiplash claims registered with the government has fallen by 23% since the Jackson reforms.
A freedom of information request by the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL) found that a total of 376,513 claims, mostly following road collisions, were made during 2014/15.
This compared with 488,281 in 2012/13, the final year before the Jackson civil litigation reforms banned referral fees for personal injury claims and reduced fixed legal fees for whiplash cases to £500. The figures cast new light on insurers’ claims of a whiplash ‘epidemic’ that has formed the backdrop for a sustained period of reform, culminating in the introduction of independent diagnosis panels.
APIL president Jonathan Wheeler (pictured) said: ‘In the past few years the government has made radical changes to the system, slashing to the bone claimant solicitors’ fees and those of medical experts in whiplash claims.
‘From next month a new system is to be introduced to help eliminate fraud. And now we have cast-iron evidence that whiplash claims are falling.’
According to the Department for Work and Pensions, the geographical area with the most whiplash claims last year was Birmingham, with around 22,000. Manchester was next highest with almost 14,000. Both numbers were lower than for 2012/13.
Further reform of the personal injury sector is set to be another battleground once the new government is formed.
Claimant lawyers will be required from next month to run background checks on all claimants, while the Association of British Insurers last week identified an increase in the small claims limit as a key priority.