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Damages for whiplash injuries

Part of Civil Liability Bill [Lords] – in the House of Commons at 5:00 pm on 23rd October 2018.

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Photo of Mary Robinson Mary Robinson Conservative, Cheadle 5:00 pm, 23rd October 2018

It is absolutely right that people support reform of the system, and I support the Government’s action in doing so. I am keen to ensure that we can secure fairness for everyone through the Bill.

According to the recent AA British insurance premium index, these reforms have already triggered a fall in premiums owing to the expectation that claim costs will fall, and only yesterday it was reported that motor premiums had fallen for the first time in years: last month they were almost 10% lower than they had been in the same month in 2017. That means that the average driver is £45 better off as a result. Consumers will be pleased with lower premiums, but they must be convinced that that is worth any detriment that they may experience should they become victims of traffic accidents.

We might not be having this debate at all were it not for fraudulent claims. I can almost guarantee that, at some point in the past year, every Member—including, perhaps, the Minister—will have been contacted by a claims management company, usually wrongly asserting that they have been involved in a car accident recently, and can lodge a claim. That seriously concerns and aggravates many people. A 2017 YouGov report shows that more than two thirds of people are in favour of a ban on cold calling for personal injury claims. Cold calling is a particular issue for the vulnerable and the elderly, who may be talked into making fake or exaggerated claims. A Justice Committee report earlier this year stated that the recent restrictions on cold calling by claims companies

“do not go far enough and that an outright ban should be introduced.”