Injury Prevention Day and the agenda for reform

Guest post by Brett Dixon, president of the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers

Dixon: We want tailgaters to be condemned by their peers

This year APIL’s Injury Prevention Day falls as we anticipate a return of the Civil Liability Bill in the upcoming parliamentary session, as well as the resurrection of plans to increase the small claims court limit.

APIL originally instigated Injury Prevention Day in 2015 on the third Wednesday of August as an occasion to highlight what our association is about, and to give people a better understanding of our values. A key part of APIL’s remit is to promote safety standards and reduce avoidable harm.

This year, Injury Prevention Day and the agenda for reform are connected. The approach from the government and the insurance industry is to reduce the cost and number of whiplash claims.

We know that most whiplash claims are genuine, as the latest figures from the Association of British Insurers show that fraud is proven in only 0.17% of motor-related insurance claims. Only a fraction of this tiny figure will be apportioned to injuries, and a fraction of those will be whiplash injuries.

So, for 99.83% of claims (at the very least), there exists a person suffering a real injury who, quite rightly, can make a claim. Nothing has been proposed in the whiplash reforms so far to reduce the number of injured people – only the number of injured people who can claim.

For those who do make claims, the plan is to reduce their compensation to arbitrary levels.

APIL would welcome unequivocally a reduction in genuine whiplash claims if it represented a reduction in needless injuries. The logical tactic is to reduce the collisions which cause the injuries in the first place.

We can all agree on that point at least, even insurers. I am delighted that LV= has leant its support to APIL’s anti-tailgating campaign ‘Back Off’ on Injury Prevention Day. Our campaign encourages drivers to keep a safe distance from other vehicles.

We want tailgaters to be condemned by their peers. It is a pointless, anti-social habit which causes crashes, unnecessary injuries and insurance claims which could have been avoided.

For personal injury lawyers to encourage a reduction in injuries perhaps seems like a case of turkeys voting for Christmas, but we are serious. Our members would much prefer for no-one to be injured by negligence. And the injured people I have asked would much rather forgo compensation payments and not be injured in the first place.

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