Whiplash Injury Insurance Claims – Fraudulent Or Genuine?

by allan46 on March 18, 2011

Although the concept of whiplash was first introduced over 80 years ago and it is scientifically recognised as a legitimate injury, the authenticity of low speed impact claims continue to promote conflicting arguments from insurers and personal injury specialists.

Low speed impacts are typically accidents that occur under the speed of 10 mph and there is often little or no damage to either of the vehicles involved. However passengers of the vehicle that has been struck often complain of neck, shoulder and back pain, typically referred to as whiplash injuries. </i>Sometimes the effects of such injuries are not always immediately apparent and can often appear a number of days after the collision.

When faced with such claims, insurers often try and argue that as the accident occurred at such a low speed, the symptoms complained of are either non-existent or exaggerated and it is often alleged that the majority of such claims are fraudulent. Insurers base these accusations on tests that are carried out on crash test dummies, which show that when a vehicle is struck at a low speed potential whiplash injuries are fairly rare.

The opposing argument for these assertions are that although there may be no apparent damage to the vehicle, research carried out in 2003 and 2004 confirmed injuries are just as likely to be sustained in a low impact collision, as in a high speed accident.

Any results produced following experiments on crash test dummies can also be questioned, as they are usually set up using dummies of an average height and build. It is also likely that the crash test dummies are seated correctly, with seats and headrests in the appropriate position, to minimise or eliminate any potential whiplash injuries. These factors are important when considering the validity of any test results as studies have confirmed that the severity of whiplash injuries are governed by the position of the cars headrest and certain groups such as women and tall people are more prone to suffer whiplash injuries.

Whiplash occurs when the soft tissue and ligaments in the neck or back are strained after a sudden movement or jolt. On the whole, the majority of whiplash injuries subside within a 6 – 9 month period, however approximately 5-10% of cases in the UK show that some injuries last in excess of 1 year and individuals are left with more serious chronic symptoms. Past cases involving more serious injuries have occurred when a vehicle is hit at a low speed. Each individual case is different and each set of facts must be assessed separately on its own merits, therefore it cannot just be assumed that all low speed impact claims are fraudulent.

Although the vehicle may show no damage, the velocity and accompanying force has to be transferred somewhere and usually, this is directly to the occupants of the vehicle being struck, as even at low speeds, the occupants are unable to brace themselves for the impact to prevent any injuries occurring.

Therefore, the occupants are the victims of the accident and are entitled to pursue a claim to recover compensation to redress the <a target=”_new” rel=”nofollow” onclick=”javascript:_gaq.push([‘_trackPageview’, ‘/outgoing/article_exit_link’]);” href=”http://www.theclaimsconnection.co.uk/q&a-personal-injury.html”>whiplash injuries</a> and any other losses suffered.

This article has been written by Sarah Nandhra who is a trainee solicitor working for Winston Solicitors, based in Leeds, West Yorks UK. Website; http://www.theclaimsconnection.co.uk
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