True com­pen­sa­tion is to show some back­bone

Harefield Gazette - - OPINION - Ev­ery week BAR­BARA FISHER looks at is­sues that af­fect us all – the is­sues that get you talk­ing. You can join in by email­ing bmail­bar­

IAM SO pleased to hear that the Gov­ern­ment is clamp­ing down on fraud­u­lent claims in car ac­ci­dents. You know the ones: bo­gus de­mands for fifty shades of whiplash, hurt pride, or what­ever… that in­sur­ance com­pa­nies shell out for, of­ten with­out med­i­cal checks, be­cause it’s cheaper than the risk of be­ing taken to court if they refuse.

Com­pen­sa­tion for mi­nor whiplash should now be banned or capped in a bid to cut the ev­er­grow­ing fraud.

I wrote about this in a col­umn (25.03.2015) when, after ig­nor­ing dozens of mes­sages about ‘the ac­ci­dent that you had, for which you are en­ti­tled to com­pen­sa­tion’, I de­cided to an­swer the next call.

First I asked where they had got my de­tails. I was told the ‘ac­ci­dent data base’. OK. I was in a mi­nor ac­ci­dent about a year ago. The other driver ac­cepted re­spon­si­bil­ity, her in­sur­ance paid up promptly and I was pro­vided with a cour­tesy car while mine was re­paired. “No one was in­jured,” I said.

“But there are dif­fer­ent lev­els of com­pen­sa­tion,” she in­sisted. “1 – is se­ri­ous; 2 – is when you have vis­ited the doc­tor within 14 days (whiplash, she told me, help­fully). Level 3 pays out for ‘mi­nor dis­com­fort’.”

“I didn’t have any sort of prob­lem,” I said.

“Didn’t you feel stiff or un­com­fort­able af­ter­wards?” “No, NO, I told you …” “… but you can claim on level 3. You’re en­ti­tled to a pay­ment of be­tween £1,000 and £3,500…”

“NO, I’M NOT,” I replied, and put the phone down. No won­der our in­sur­ance pre­mi­ums keep in­creas­ing when peo­ple are en­cour­aged – al­most bul­lied – into mak­ing false claims.

Se­ri­ous in­jury, in­clud­ing ex­treme dam­age or dis­com­fort, is a dif­fer­ent mat­ter, and should be recog­nised, but well done to this Gov­ern­ment for grasp­ing the net­tle on this one.

What an evoca­tive phrase that is, and by co­in­ci­dence, I’ve just read an ar­ti­cle which demon­strates that ‘at­tempt­ing or ap­proach­ing some­thing with bold­ness and courage’ (ie grasp­ing the net­tle) at any age, can reap re­wards

Frank McCourt wrote his mem­oir An­gela’s Ashes when he was 66; Anna Robert­son Moses, who ex­hib­ited at The Mu­seum of Mod­ern Art in New York, didn’t start paint­ing un­til she was 76, while Peter Ro­get pub­lished his Th­e­saurus when he was 73, su­per­vis­ing ev­ery up­date un­til he died at the age of 90.

And I bet none of them com­plained of whiplash …

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