Cashless Compensation


Insurance company Aviva want to completely eliminate compensation for whiplash injury claims, and instead replace this with a system that involves assessing and providing care for injured victims.

Car Speeding Round a Corner

If you take this idea at face value, it sounds like a reasonably fair way to approach whiplash injuries.

However, we would like to explain why this is actually an incredibly deceptive argument, which only seeks to turn the majority (vehicle owners), against the minority (those who are injured), when the proposals would leave victims seriously worse for wear after an accident they didn't cause.

How Giving Someone Treatment Doesn’t 'Put Things Right'

A person is entitled to damages in many areas of civil law, including personal injury. They are to provide compensation, and the amount should put the person back in the position they were in before they were 'wronged'. In a personal injury case, such as a whiplash compensation claim, someone is wronged when they're injured in the car accident, and someone else was responsible.

If you give someone medical treatment or physiotherapy after a whiplash injury, their condition is likely to improve, this isn't disputed. But it's not putting someone back where they were, nor is it compensating them for pain and suffering.

What about time taken off work? What about the time their partner took off work in order to care for them by doing household work? These are facts you're likely to have to deal with if you've suffered a whiplash injury in a car accident, especially where you have to wear a neck brace for days.

Among the proposals, they want to restrict the use of personal injury solicitors to where their expertise is 'really needed'. It's not clear where the line is between needing a solicitor or not, but this proposal sounds like a way to restrict your access to a solicitor.

Populist Arguments

What Aviva are relying on in their argument is the misconception that anyone who is involved in a car accident is alleging whiplash, and that most cases of this are false. This is an argument adopted by the insurance industry so that they can blame the victim, so that the amount they have to pay out on legitimate insurance claims decreases.

Admittedly, it's hard to have sympathy for the whiplash victim when you can connect it to your car insurance premium. But if you're unfortunate enough to be in an accident where someone else is to blame, you would want to be put back in the position you were in before the accident. You wouldn’t accept being patched up on the cheap, left out of pocket, and having to worry about the insurance company's bottom line. Susan Vanden – Partner and Head of the Road Traffic Accidents department at Simpson Millar LLP comments:

"It is important to ensure that victims are compensated for the pain, suffering, and loss of amenity – irrespective of being put back in the position they were prior to the accident. If this stops happening then the whole foundation of being entitled to compensation is put in to question."

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