One of our clients drives a VW Polo – not exactly a big car. Last year, edging out of a parking space, he touched the rear bumper of a Mercedes estate. Photographs taken at the time show the damage to both vehicles as absolutely nothing. Didn’t even dislodge any dirt.
Despite which the five occupants in the Mercedes apparently all suffered whiplash injuries and have so far claimed over £25,000 in damages with more to follow. The sensible people reading this will no doubt be thinking “why doesn’t the insurance company just tell them to do one?”. The sad fact is that current legislation makes it more expensive to put up a legitimate fight rather than to just pay up quietly.
I had a very light bumper touch with someone a couple of years ago. They had braked hard at a green traffic light, so when they got out of their car clutching their neck, I handed over my business card and pointed out that they were holding the wrong part of their neck for whiplash. No claim ever made but very few get that lucky.
However, legislation announced in the Queen’s Speech – buried amongst all the Brexit stuff – will make it more difficult for spurious claims to be successful without affecting the claims of people who have genuine injuries. Apparently this will offset to some extent the increased motor insurance premium caused by IPT going up to 12% and the effect of the Ogden Rate Review, saving an average of £35 a year per vehicle.