July 25, 2016

Whiplash - Whiplash claims down by 11%

Following APIL's freedom of information request, the Government has revealed that whiplash figures for this year (2015/16) are 11% lower than those for 2014/15.

The Government's Compensatory Recovery Unit (CRU) detailed 335,365 claims in 2015/16 where 'whiplash' had been recorded by the compensator in the injury description field. This amounted to an 11% reduction from the 2014/15 figure of 376,513 claims and a larger reduction than the 8% reduction the year before. For the 2013/14 period 410,215 whiplash claims were recorded and 488,281claims during 2012/13 (a 16% decrease).

However, the picture is not necessarily as clear cut as the CRU figures suggest. Although the overall total number of claims notified to CRU has also decreased for the third year in a row to 981,324 claims, the rate at which the figures are decreasing is in decline (from 3% two years ago, 2% last year and to 1.7% this year) and the overall number of claims has remained steady at around 1 million per year.

CRU data also reveals that the number of RTA claims has risen by 1.2% to 770,791, in contrast to the three preceding years of declining numbers. RTA Portal data also reveals an increase of 0.5% to 860,629 (based on 11 months).

With the proposed reforms still in the pipeline, it is likely that long-term figures will reduce. However, in the short-term, we may seek a spike in the number of claims being brought as claimant firms seek to capitalise on the current compensatory regime.

Given that Parliament is consequently in recess until September, it is unlikely that the industry will receive clarification or that the consultation on the reforms will be published in the interim period. Indeed, with other legislative and policy issues already higher on the agenda for the next parliament, it remains to be seen if and when the proposed reforms will be taken forward.