Whiplash claims to be cut

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The government is set to begin a consultation aimed at cracking down on the cost of whiplash injury claims.

The government is set to begin a consultation aimed at cracking down on the cost of whiplash injury claims.

Justice Secretary Chris Grayling has indicated that he wishes to reduce the significant number of fraudulent claims that are being made by drivers.

Whiplash claims cost insurers £2 billion in 2010, with pay-outs for the injury the equivalent of £90 for every car insurance policy holder in the country.

Speaking of his proposals, Chris Grayling told The Guardian that, "For too long honest drivers have been bearing the price of a system that has been open to abuse and it is time for that to change.

"We are proposing action to support effective whiplash diagnosis by medical experts and to simplify procedures which will help bring speculative or fraudulent claims before a judge - so genuine claims can still be settled but fraudsters are left in no doubt there will be no more easy paydays."

Under the government's plans, a new group of independent medical groups would be established to assess the validity of whiplash claims. The changes will also allow more cases to be challenged in the country's small claims courts, ending the current situation where it is cheaper for insurers to accept dubious injuries than challenge them.

A recent government report found that personal injury claims had risen by 60 per cent since 2006. This is despite improved safety features in vehicles and the number of accidents on the country's roads falling by one fifth.

The proposals are seen as the next stage of in the government's overhaul of the civil justice system, with law changes already set to come into force in April next year. One of the main features of this will be the rearrangement of 'no-win, no-fee' deals.

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