Figures have revealed that one out of every 140 British motorists claim for the painful neck injury each year.
The statistics were announced by James Dalton of the Association of British Insurers whilst discussing the significant hike in insurance prices over the past few years.
Mr Dalton told the Whiplash Conference in Leeds:
“Despite the statistics I doubt that that the UK has some of the weakest necks in Europe.
“Often difficult to diagnose, easy to fake and exaggerate, whiplash is a fraudster’s dream.”
However his comments were tempered by the admission that he would welcome a more rigid system of whiplash detection, as well as calling for greater awareness of the factors that cause the injury to be inflicted in the first place.
In some countries, such as Germany, whiplash claims automatically fail if it can be proven that the accident happened below a certain speed. Likewise, better road manners and the reduction of ‘tailgating,’ as well as more effective positioning of head restraints, could all help cut the incidences of cases.
He does not dispute that genuine whiplash claimants, and injury victims in general, should always have the right to access compensation via the simplest and easiest methods. But he implies that fraudulent claims, whether those staged by a deliberate accident as part of a ‘crash for cash’ scheme or one that arises as the exaggeration of a very minor injury, should be stamped out.
Critics of the insurance industry counter-argue that the alleged reasons for the inexorable rise in premium prices are mainly the fault of insurers themselves. These include aggressive, expensive advertising in what is a very competitive market and even, apparently, passing details of their customers to unscrupulous personal injury solicitors themselves.