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By Nick Jervis
When the latest quotes for your car insurance hit the doormat you may need to sit down before you open them: motor insurance premiums have more than doubled since 1994 and, over the last year alone, fully comprehensive and third party insurance premiums have gone up 5.9%. Yet according to the Association of British Insurers the number of deaths on Britain’s roads are falling, so why aren’t your premiums?
The simple fact is that as casualties have fallen the cost of accidents is rising, and in the accidents that do occur there is a greater incidence of younger drivers being involved. Car design over the last decade has made our cars safer, with airbags, impact bars and specialist metals in the bodywork to reduce the crushing effect of a crash. The cost of repairing cars with these hi-tech safety features is much more expensive. Also a greater number of drivers and their passengers survive car crashes and therefore insurance claims for injuries sustained in accidents are on the increase. According to the AA, personal injury claims are rising at around 10% per year.
The most common of these injuries is whiplash or whiplash associated disorders (WAD). This usually occurs when a vehicle hits you from behind, though it can also happen if you are hit from the front or side. The impact throws the body forward which in turn throws the neck forward so it extends. As the driver brakes hard to stop the car moving this impetus is stopped suddenly and the neck snaps back at speed hitting the headrest. Inside the body this stretches and tears tendons, muscles and ligaments in the neck and surrounding area and may also damage nerves and other soft tissues.
Symptoms vary enormously depending on the health and age of the person, the severity of impact and braking speed, and factors such as seatbelts, headrests and so on. The results of a whiplash injury develop within hours of an accident, include painful stiffness in the neck that goes up into the head and down into the shoulders, headache, nausea, pins and needles in the arms and hands, low back pain, dizziness, blurred vision and ringing in the ears. It can also cause problems with concentration, memory and general performance.
With problems like this, not only will you require medical treatment at the time but possibly over many weeks. You may be in a neck brace taking anti-inflammatory drugs and painkillers so unable to carry out your job. The time it takes for whiplash to heal varies from a few weeks to months or years. It can also cause ongoing health problems, potentially for the rest of your life.
The important thing is to get the appropriate medical treatment you need at the earliest opportunity. Ensure you make a careful note of how it has affected you, what treatment you have or will require and any impact it may have on your daily life and job. All valuable information needed in order to make a claim.
It seems somewhat ironic that with improved road safety and car design saving lives, that insurers are blaming the survivors of what once would have been fatal crashes for the increase in their insurance premiums. Why should these innocent victims bear the financial cost of paying for the treatment of injuries sustained in a crash and any loss of earnings this may have caused? The fact is that demand is rapidly in danger of outstripping supply. Insurance companies feel that premiums are no longer able to support the increasing number of claims for injuries sustained in road accidents. There are indications that increases are beginning to slow as a balance is reached. But in the meantime, whether you have been in an accident or not motor insurance premiums will be a real financial pain in the neck for drivers.
About the Author: We deal in a range of claims, including
personal injury claims
and compensation. Please visit http://www.1stclaims .co.uk for further information.