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Another financial year passes and, regular as clockwork, the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL) release another misleading set of figures relating to claim numbers that totally misses the real story.
Regular readers will remember last year’s APIL 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.”
This has been trotted out again with it being reported: “the number of whiplash claims registered with the government has fallen by 23% since the Jackson reforms. A freedom of information request by the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL) found that a total of 376,513 claims, mostly following road collisions, were made during 2014/15”.
Jonathan Wheeler, APIL’s new president blogged: “Government figures tell us that whiplash claims have fallen over the last four years by more than a third – that’s almost 200,000 claims. A Freedom of Information Act request made by APIL shows that they have fallen by eight per cent in the past year alone”.
So what do the CRU figures actually show for the number of RTA cases registered to CRU for recent years:
This shows a modest reduction of under 4% in RTA claims from 2010/11. Even from the peak of 2011/12, this is only an 8% reduction. If whiplash claims are declining, it must have strangely coincided with a large increase in non-whiplash claims. The far more likely explanation is that the same types of claim have (for unexplained reasons) been recategorised from whiplash to non-whiplash.
The real story from the latest CRU figures concerns the total numbers of new claims reported (RTA and non-RTA):
The total number of new claims is virtually unchanged from pre-Jackson and, indeed, slightly up on 2010/11.
So, the real story is that, contrary to all the scaremongering that went on pre-Jackson, two full years post-Jackson there has been no massive drop in the number of claims being brought (the Access to Justice Action Group predicted a 25% drop). No doubt claimant solicitors are feeling the pinch in terms of profits post-Jackson, but access to justice (presumably claimant solicitors’ primary concern) has been maintained in personal injury litigation. And APIL has nothing to say on the subject as it fails to fit in with their access to justice crisis narrative.