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Back To Vidyya Deterring Insurance Claims For Whiplash Injury

Eliminating Compensation Makes The Pain Go Away

According to research in the April 20 New England Journal Of Medicine, the incidence and prognosis of whiplash injury from motor vehicle collisions may be related to eligibility for compensation for pain and suffering. If payments are eliminated, the pain disappears.

The study was performed by the Alberta Centre for Injury Control and Research. The organization looked at tort-compensation for traffic injuries, which had included payments for pain and suffering, in Saskatchewan, Canada. In January of 1995, the payments for pain and suffering were eliminated as part of a change to a no-fault insurance system. The researchers sought to determine if the change was associated with a decrease in claims and improved recovery after whiplash injury.

Of 9006 potentially eligible claimants, 7462 met the criteria for whiplash injury. During the last six-month of the tort system, there were 417 per 100,000 claimants as compared to 296 per 100,000 during the second six months under the no-fault system. The median time from the date of injury to the closure of the claim decreased from 433 days to 194 days, respectively. The intensity of neck pain, level of physical functioning, and the presence or absence of depressive symptoms were strongly associated with the time to claim closure in both systems.

The Alberta Centre concluded that elimination of compensation for pain and suffering is directly associated with a decreased incidence and improved prognosis of whiplash injury.

Read other research from the Alberta Centre for Injury Control Research.

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Editor: Susan K. Boyer, RN
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