The defendant costs specialists

APIL announces shock 28% increase in non-whiplash RTA claims

By on Sep 26, 2012 | 10 comments

The Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL) recently reported on the shock 28% increase in non-whiplash RTA claims.

Actually, strictly speaking, that is not quite true. What APIL did report, with great fanfare, a press release that received widespread coverage in the legal press and various tweets was that there had been a 24,000 drop in whiplash claims last year

I’ve previously queried APIL’s similar claims given the Compensation Recovery Unit’s figures have been showing a rise in RTA claims. I therefore contacted APIL’s press office to try to get to the bottom of this.

Firstly, they clarified that they were only talking about whiplash claims, rather than RTA claims overall. I did ask if they could send me a copy of the figures they were working from or provide a link to this. Strangely, they were unable to do this but they did confirm that the figures did indeed come from the CRU. (Perhaps they met a man down the pub who works for the CRU and this is how they got their figures.)

Nevertheless, I will proceed on the basis that these figures do indeed come from the CRU and that they show in relation to whiplash claims the following figures:

2011/12 – 547,405 claims
2010/11 – 571,111 claims

I will also proceed on the basis that the CRU figures available on the internet showing the total number of RTA claims are also accurate. These show:

2011/12 – 828,489 claims
2010/11 – 790,999 claims

Deducting the number of whiplash claims from the total number of claims gives us the following balance of RTA claims other than those related to whiplash:

2011/12 – 281,084 claims
2010/11 – 219,888 claims

At this stage it becomes apparent that insofar as there is a story within these figures, it is not the modest 4% reduction in whiplash claims, it is the staggering 28% increase in other types of injury claim. (To put this in perspective, the one-year increase of 61,196 additional non-whiplash claims is not that far short of the total number (81,470) of Employer Liability claims throughout the whole of 2010/11.)

This category of case, obviously, covers an enormous variety of injuries, with everything from a cyclist receiving minor grazes to their knees following been knocked off their bicycle all the way up to those being rendered tetraplegic. However, under normal circumstances one would expect the proportion of non-whiplash injuries to remain broadly the same as the proportion of whiplash injuries. I am prepared to admit the possibility that changes in car, seatbelt and headrest design might, over the long term, impact on the likelihood of those involved in RTAs suffering whiplash injuries. But I struggle to begin to imagine what can have happened over a one-year period to have led to a decrease in whiplash injuries at exactly the same time as other injuries are soaring by this margin.

Commenting on the very high number of whiplash injuries that appear to be suffered in this country rather than other European countries, one wag suggested that we in this country must have the weakest necks in Europe. These figures appear to suggest that the past year has shown a modest improvement in the strength of our necks but at exactly the same time as the rest of our bodies appear to have suffered from the worst deterioration in general health since the Black Death.

Under the circumstances, I find it extraordinary that APIL should be seeking to make a big song and dance about the whiplash figures without even commenting on the massive apparent increase in other injury claims.

    10 Comments

  1. Less claims = less work for us all. Claimant and Defendant.

    Quit moaning about it and be thankful that you have a case to defend. There are others in the industry who will be less fortunate the way things are going.

    John Hartson

    26th September 2012

  2. These stats are clearly attributable to the government’s vehicle scrappage scheme. New cars have better headrests etc., but are no less painful to the cyclists they run into.

    Pete B

    26th September 2012

  3. Pete, the Vehicle Scrappage Scheme would be a possible explanation except for the fact that this apparently ended in March 2010. The figures we are concerned with are 2010/11 and 2011/12. Presumably this runs from April to April. Therefore this scheme had ended before any of the figures we are looking at.

    Simon Gibbs

    26th September 2012

  4. I’m starting to get the impression that APIL is quite misleading in their “reports.” I don’t like them.

    Richard

    26th September 2012

  5. Well said John Hartson!

    Anonymous

    26th September 2012

  6. The vehicle scrappage scheme has ended but police have the power to seize unroadworthy or uninsured cars.

    Most of these are thankfully scrapped.

    Cockney Rebel

    26th September 2012

  7. It must have just taken everyone a little time to get used to their new vehicle and to to build up the confidence to run a cyclist over.

    Pete B

    26th September 2012

  8. Lets be positive and rejoice in the prospects of more bills to draft and for Simon to oppose. Enough of the doom and gloom. At the present time:
    A) My practice has never been busier.
    B)We have rendered a record number of invoices to Clients this year.
    C)We have never been owed in as much in fees and my Overdraft has never been higher.
    On balance my cup is slightly more than half full. I went to a funeral yesterday— I bet the poor soul in the box would like to have our supposed problems !

    Ian Cosgrove

    27th September 2012

  9. What interests me about this article is the link to the CRU statistics. The most recent data on page 849 of _Cook on Costs 2012_ dates from 2002-3. The actual figures on the CRU / DWP website are, however, so unbelievable as to be, IMHO, worthless. I appreciate that the number of settlements reported in a given year may exceed the number of cases registered in the same year because the settled cases may include cases registered in previous years but, for every year, the number of “employment” settlements recorded exceeds the number of “employment” cases registered and, in 2006/07 and 2007/08, the number of settlements is more than double the number of cases registered!

    Timothy P

    27th September 2012

  10. well said Mr Cosgrove!

    Gary Stevens

    28th September 2012

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