LV= reports that fake injuries are on the increase
LV= car insurance has reported that GPs have seen an increase in the number of people feigning injury in order to claim compensation. The research conducted among GPs has revealed that 65% of doctors have seen an increase in the number of attempts to make a fraudulent injury claim over the past ten years, with almost one in four reporting a surge since the recession began.
The LV= research reveals a 25% rise in personal injury claims over the past six years, costing the NHS £8m in consultation fees every year and the insurance industry nearly £2bn in compensation payments*.
The most commonly attempted personal injury fraud is whiplash, which has a significant impact on car insurance costs, estimated at 20% of everyone’s premium*. The insurance industry is working closely with the medical profession to ensure that legitimate claims are supported whilst weeding out any false claims.
Doctors have also reported cases of people trying to fake post-traumatic stress and depression as ways of fraudulently claiming compensation.
The UK has twice the number of whiplash injuries reported compared with the rest of Europe* and the medical profession is becoming more wary of people attempting to make fraudulent claims. 49% of GPs said they are now more likely to scrutinise patients ’injuries’ where compensation could be gained, and 36% said they are now less likely to write a letter to support a claim.
Dr Harry Brunjes, Chairman of LV=’s medical advice provider, Premier Medical Group commented: “The medical profession always has been, but is increasingly sensitive to individuals who could potentially defraud their employer or insurer as a result of exaggeration or even fabrication of clinical signs and symptoms.”
Although the vast majority of GPs said the increase in faked injuries was driven by people trying to get compensation [AU1]other common reasons cited included people trying to get time off work (66%), the ’blame’ culture that exists in the UK (70%), because they are hypochondriacs (13%) or simply because they want attention (31%).
Martin Milliner, head of claims at LV= car insurance, said: "Clearly anyone who has a genuine injury as a result of an accident that wasn’t their fault, and loses out or can’t work as a result of it, is entitled to compensation. However anyone trying to get money for an injury that doesn’t exist is not only breaking the law but also wasting valuable NHS time and resources. We would urge any GP who has doubts about someone reporting an injury to investigate further to ensure that it is genuine.
“People may see making up an injury as a result of a car accident as a harmless crime and a quick way to make money, but if they are allowed to get away with it all car insurance premiums would be pushed up which is unfair on the honest motorist.” Anyone found guilty of making a fraudulent claim will also have a criminal record, could lose their job and could go to prison for three years or more, according to the official Sentencing Guidelines Council guidance.
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Notes to Editors:
All research (unless marked otherwise) was conducted among 250 GPs by research agency PCP.
* ABI report ‘Tackling whiplash’ November 2008
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LV= employs over 3,800 people, serves around 3.6 million customers and members, and manages around £7 billion on their behalf. We are also the UK’s largest friendly society (Association of Friendly Societies Key Statistics 2008, total net assets) and a leading mutual financial services provider.
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