British insurance firms have confirmed that the number of claims for whiplash injuries following road accidents is soaring. The Association for British Insurers (ABI) says its members receive almost 1,200 claims of this type every day, worth £2bn a year. The injuries cost the NHS an approximate £8m per year. The AA said that drivers could reduce the risk of whiplash injuries by adjusting the head restraints in their cars to the correct height.
Whiplash happens when soft tissues in the neck are damaged by sudden movement, and are often linked to road accidents when the victim's car has been hit from behind. Mild pain and soreness normally lasts up to a week afterwards, but more severe cases can result in permanent disability. Stephen Haddrill, the director general of the ABI said that whiplash had become an ´epidemic which produced unacceptable costs for the state, individuals and businesses.´ He went on to say: ´Insurers want to reduce whiplash, provide fast care and compensation and tackle fraudulent claims.
ABI also highlighted the fact that one of the biggest causes of whiplash was tailgating, when one car follows too closely behind the one in front. It has called for the government's proposed new framework for learner drivers to emphasise the importance of keeping their distance from the car in front. The AA said that whiplash claims were putting increasing pressure on insurance premiums. This amounted to £66.00 for every UK car insurance policy – twice the cost as that for accidents involving uninsured drivers. Says Edmund King, president of the AA: ´Drivers and passengers can help prevent themselves becoming victims of whiplash by adjusting head restraints before they drive off. The top of the head restraint should be level with the top of the driver's head, while the back of the head should be very close or touching the restraint. Drivers should always keep at least a two second distance from the vehicle in front.´
The BBC news website covered the following story which relate to Personal Injury, Holiday Accidents and Illness, Road Traffic Accidents and Accidents in the workplace.
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