Where’s that Myth, Whiplash?

As I was driving back home the other night I was listening to a debate between Jack Straw and a physiotherapist.

An odd combination, I thought.

As usual, the interviewer was keen to latch on sound-bites such as “There is no whiplash” and “that compensation culture” and so on.

Between getting bored and frustrated with the debate, I wondered what had happened to that myth whiplash?

I was struck, where’s that myth, Whiplash now?

Lindi St Clair is of course where my mind immediately turned. She was without doubt the one and only “Miss Whiplash” and as far as my memory served me, claimed that literally hundreds of Members of Parliament had been her paying clients in her bordello in London. I thought it was perhaps curiously appropriate that Jack Straw should be talking about that myth whiplash, when some of his “Learned” and “Honourable” Friends in the House of Commons would have been enjoying whiplash of entirely different sort at her hands.

I know you are all rushing now to join the Corrective Party of which Miss Whiplash remains the leader.

Those that are left behind cannot fail to be impressed with the gullibility of a Government who seriously believes that firstly there is no such thing as whiplash, and secondly, in trying to dispel it, we are all going to be saved the £90 a year on our car insurance, something which the insurance industry claims.

There is no doubt that whiplash exists as a clinical diagnosis and one only has to trawl through a variety of medical references to see this. Indeed, when I first started in practice, the standard whiplash client would have been seen in Accident and Emergency Departments and prescribed a collar or neck brace to wear, with instruction to remove it gradually when the symptoms improved.

Medical opinion has moved on so as to recommend that gentle movement of the neck after hyperextension is probably the best cure.

My hackles rose when Jack Straw dismissed whiplash as “a pain in the neck” when I consider some of those clients of mine whose lives and lifestyles have been seriously impaired as a result of serious a rear-end shunt causing hyperextension. Think about those Volvo crash test dummies and you may get the picture……

Of course the Government has only itself to blame. It has dumbed down the road traffic accident process to a point where only General Practitioners are encouraged to report on injuries (rather than Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeons) and insurers now make pre-medical offers with a view to paying off those who have been only minimally injured.

The hypocrisy of the insurance industry is such that having lobbied successfully to dumb down the road traffic accident process into a conveyor belt approach, the insurers have now worked out they are still not making enough profits

And so it now moves to try to lobby the Government along the lines of a global reduction in car insurance premiums, only if those who suffer injury have increasingly higher obstacles put in their way to making a successful claim for compensation.

The more that Jack Straw and the media peddle this nonsense, of course, the more that people actually believe it. T’was ever thus, with our media fed and led society.

However, unless and until the rules change so as to allow well qualified surgeons to comment upon injuries with all the appropriate medical records and corroboration available, and qualified lawyers advise the injured, then the dumbed down system will get even dumber, serving no one, not even the very insurance industry who wanted it set up in the first place so as to preserve the millions of pounds of profit each year that they make.

Andrew Greenwood

Written by

Andrew Greenwood

Director & Head of Personal Injury

Andrew is a Director and Head of Personal Injury with over 30 years’ experience and has expert knowledge in serious brain, spinal and fatal injury cases. Andrew is a Deputy District Judge in the High Court and County Court, founding member and trustee of national charity SCARD (Support and Care After Road Death and...

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