How the claims firms take us for a ride

Figures show that roughly one quarter of car accidents result in an injury claim. In England, a staggering 80% of these claims are for alleged whiplash injuries; a particular problem that hardly existed a decade or so ago. Furthermore, over the border in Scotland (where claims for this type of injury are viewed with far more scepticism) whiplash injuries are far fewer. Why is this, is the neck of the average person in England weaker than in the rest of the world? Or are we all being taken for a ride?

And why should they all blame whiplash? Could it have something to do with the fact that no medical test has yet been devised that can confirm or deny whether or not someone is actually suffering pain from this condition? All that medical legal companies typically earn a fee of £200 for confirming that, in their opinion, the claimant is in fact a genuine sufferer?

It has been estimated that every pound which is paid out by an insurance company in the form of compensation to 'injured' drivers and passengers actually costs £1.87; the extra 87 p is for fees paid to lawyers and claims firms. This is big business; the average claim generates legal fees of more than £2000 a case and where a vehicle which was involved in an accident held several passengers this can mean a seriously good piece of business for someone. It is not in the least bit surprising that the number of claims firms has mushroomed, and they not only find their business by paying commissions to all and sundry but even cold call people on their telephones in the evening, or stop them in the street to ask whether or not they have had an accident within the last three years. No doubt a number of injuries that are brought to their attention are genuine and the sufferers involved are truly deserving of the compensation that they walk away with but a huge number and not. Even allowing for the phoney cases that have slipped through the net, insurance company investigators discovered more than 120,000 fraudulent claims last year, with savings of more than £400 million which would otherwise have had to have been paid out.

No doubt the people who work for these claims companies are staunch, upright citizens who do a job that they are proud of and which they believe is to the benefit of mankind. One sometimes cannot help thinking that there are a number of their fellow workers however who encourage greedy people to claim illegally for injuries that they have never received.

Many people who have received compensation in this way have bragged about it and wear their guilt like a badge of honour, happy that they have put one over on the insurance companies. They haven't. They have put one over on people like you and I who have to pay their ill gotten gains out of our insurance premiums.

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