Auto accident injury claims are generally mocked and widely vilified in the media. Genuine whiplash claimants are disbelieved and reports of a ‘compensation culture’ make victims feel as though they should feel guilty for claiming.
What lies behind the accusations and is the media’s opinion justified?
Auto accident injury claims – the trends
So do motor accident injury claims deserve a bad reputation? Let’s look at the facts and try to understand why this negative opinion is so widespread. Here are some interesting trends:
- The number of compensation claims per year has dropped since 2007, with the notable exception of auto accident injury claims
- The number of reported auto accidents has fallen since 2008
- The number of cars on the road has increased year on year for almost a decade
These three facts point towards two different stories and could explain why the media have developed such a poor opinion. The media have picked up on the first two facts; auto accidents are falling, yet car accident injury claims are rising. Therefore, they deduce, a claims culture much be emerging where every person involved in an accident is now automatically submitting a claim for compensation.
However, the third fact starts to lead us to a very different conclusion. The point that the media has overlooked is that our roads have become more and more congested. Why is this relevant?
When we add a few more important points to the mix, we start to get the the heart of the matter:
- Congestion on the roads causes a higher number of low speed, low impact auto accidents
- Whiplash injuries are most likely to be sustained when your stationary car is hit from behind at low speed with little or no damage to the car
- There is a noticeable concentration of auto accident injury claims around major cities; also the areas of highest road congestion
So, in general, the media have jumped to a conclusion without looking at the full picture. The majority of auto accident injury claims involve whiplash, an occurrence which is exacerbated by highly congested, low speed traffic. Whiplash is most likely to be sustained by the occupants of a car that is hit from behind at low speed. In those low impact accidents, the car is undamaged, so the impact is absorbed by your body instead. Your neck is thrown back and forward at high speed, leading to whiplash injuries.
The correlation between crowded, low speed roads and whiplash injuries is proved by the geographical concentration of cases around major areas of traffic congestion.
So do auto accident injury claims deserve a bad reputation? No, they do not. Whiplash can be a devastating injury and should be taken very seriously. The sooner the media take a balanced view of the statistics available and draw sensible conclusions, the better for the victims of auto accidents.
Chat to Accident Advice Helpline today
If you have sustained an injury in a non-fault car accident, then chat to Accident Advice Helpline about a claim for compensation. Dial 0800 689 0500 from a landline, or 0333 500 0993 from your mobile phone to chat to one of our advisers today. Our initial advice is free.
Date Published: 14th January 2013
Author: David Brown