Post Magazine, Callum Brodie, 9th October 2015
The perception of whiplash as “easy money” is the fault of certain insurers making pre-medical offers, according to the chair of the Motor Accident Solicitors Society, who has questioned the extent to which claims management companies are fuelling fraud.
Speaking at the MASS conference in Manchester yesterday (8 October), Sue Brown offered a staunch defence of genuine whiplash claimants and the lawyers that represent them.
Stating that her society will “continue to press the new government for a better and fairer balance between claimants and defendants”, Brown, pictured, argued that law should not discriminate against whiplash sufferers and highlighted certain insurer practices as a driver for bogus claims.
She said: “Any suggestion that, as a measure to address the issue of fraudulent whiplash claims, the right to damages for pain and suffering should be removed from those with whiplash injuries, is misconceived.
The law should not treat injured accident victims differently simply because they are suffering whiplash rather than some other injury, and should not be changed to the detriment of honest claimants because of the behaviour of a dishonest minority.”
On the alleged propensity for certain insurers to make pre-med offers and the practice of third party capture ahead of legal advice, Brown added: “MASS believes that if there is a misconceived perception that a whiplash claim is in some way ‘easy money’, the major driver of that perception over the past decade or so has been the practice of some insurers of making pre-medical offers.
While many insurers have stopped this practice, others are still making these offers despite the amendments to the Pre-Action Protocol seeking to prevent them. This must stop, and insurers must also end the practice of third party capture ahead of independent legal advice.”
Meanwhile, the MASS chair, whose two year term comes to an end at next year’s annual general meeting in October, also questioned the extent to which cold calls by CMCs fuel fraudulent claims.
She said: “We need better enforcement of data protection legislation. I don’t entirely believe that there can be many people who are persuaded to bring a fraudulent claim just because they receive 50 nuisance calls, but the nuisance calls are certainly a factor in bringing the personal injury business into disrepute.”