Solicitors and insurers have clashed following the first day of oral evidence in a Transport Select Committee’s inquiry into whiplash claims.
A representative from Lloyd’s Market Association told the committee insurers were paying out around £2,500 per claim, when between 10% and 60% of claims were not genuine.
However, Tom Jones from Thompson law firm has accused the insurance industry of “stirring up a debate about whiplash claims to divert attention from how much they profit from motorists”.
Speaking with moneywise.co.uk Mr Jones said: “Law firms are constantly accused of being ‘ambulance chasers’ by insurers and yet they have a vested interest in creating a sense of crisis and making it as hard as possible for people to make genuine claims.
“We accept a business is entitled to make a profit, but we believe it is unacceptable for us all to be running scared and for those who benefit from a captive market to heavily influence public policy.
“They present themselves as objective and concerned about motorists when in fact insurance companies are about maximising profits and do that by paying out as little as possible and charging as much as they can in premiums.
“It is absurd to suggest insurers are on the side of the motorist any more than big oil companies are. They are stirring up a debate about whiplash claims to divert attention from how much they profit from motorists.”
The committee also heard from experts how whiplash injuries can be received from accidents that occur at only 6mph.
The committee will continue investigating the matter, with a further session due to take place in mid-June 2013.