‘Ambulance-chasers’ facing controls with new measures
- Credit: PA
The culture of 'ambulance-chasing' lawyers and bogus whiplash claims could come to an end following new measures set out by the government to crack down on insurance fraud.
Lawyers will be banned from offering accident victims incentives, such as money or free iPad tablets, to encourage them to make a claim and courts will be given powers to throw out compensation actions where claimants have been dishonest.
The reforms by the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) aim to tackle the rise of the compensation culture and reduce the amount being paid out unnecessarily by insurance companies – which can lead to higher premiums for honest customers.
The price of average motor insurance fell by more than £100 over the last year, according to the AA. Despite this, 59,9000 dishonest claims – up 34% – cost insurers £811m in 2013, said the Association of British Insurers (ABI).
Otto Thoresen, director general of the ABI, said: 'These changes are a very positive development for the vast majority of honest insurance customers who end up paying for the fraud of the minority.
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'We applaud the decision to ban the distasteful advertising which offers cash or other inducements for personal injury claims. This only serves to reinforce to unscrupulous claimants that there is a compensation culture to exploit.'
The government's measures will tackle bogus motor claims and also others such as 'trips and slips' at work and in public places, said an MoJ spokesman.
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Powers enabling courts to refuse dishonest compensation claims will stop people from exploiting the system by grossly exaggerating their injuries.
Improved medical assessments will also help reduce questionable whiplash claims, with assessments carried out be independent professionals setting fixed fees.
New rules will also stop claims being settled without confirmation of a claimant's injuries.