The Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL) has been commenting on a non-story that an information request from the Compensation Recovery Unit (CRU) has shown the number of whiplash claims has fallen by 29% in only four years. There were just under 567,000 claims in the financial year 2010-11 but only 401,584 in 2013-14.
I say “non-story” as the total number of registered motor claims fell from 828,489 in 2011/12 to 772,843 in 2013/14.
Excluding non-whiplash claims from the total number of claims means the number of non-whiplash injuries has increased during the same period from 261,489 to 371,259. That is a staggering 42% increase. Now, it might be possible that non-whiplash claims have been spiralling upwards at the same time non-whiplash claims are going in the opposite direction, but the more likely explanation is that there has been a change in reporting/recording and similar claims are now been categorised in another manner.
Of more interest is the overall change in total claim numbers:
2013/14 – 1,016,801
2012/13 – 1,048,309
2011/12 – 1,041,150
2010/11 – 987,381
The first full year of the Jackson reforms has therefore seen a very modest 3% reduction in claim numbers. This is against predictions of a 25% reduction in claimant numbers. This is even more surprising when one recalls all the talk about claimant solicitors frantically trying to sign clients up before 1 April 2013. One would have expected to see a spike in 2012/13 figures followed by a reasonable drop in 2013/14 simply to reflect the front-loading of claims, even if the Jackson reforms had no actual impact on overall claim numbers. In fact, there appears to have been neither a surge in 2012/13 nor a significant drop in 2013/14.