Call me back

Genuine Whiplash Injury Sufferers Buck the Stereotype Image!

Woman in neck brace in pain
14th May 2014
It’s not surprising that a whiplash claimant stereotype may have arisen in recent times. The popular press has been feeding the public’s imagination with the idea of a certain type of young man or woman, usually in their early 20s or even 30s and operating in gangs from a north of England town, who are habitually involved in faked car accidents and defrauding the system in a lucrative revenue scam.

While this type of claimant has attracted all the lurid headlines, in reality the majority of those involved in car collisions and who make a whiplash compensation.

Medical research shows that there are many factors, which can determine whether someone involved in a car accident will develop whiplash. In many instances, physical characteristics, how the collision occurred, and the vehicles’ safety features are just some of the variables that strongly influence the likelihood of sustaining whiplash injury.

Contrary to the stereotype of the young man in his teens or twenties, studies show that it is women who are around twice as likely as men to develop an injury most associated with whiplash, simply because women have weaker neck muscles than men. Unfortunately, women who are tall and aged between 20 and 50 are also most prone to whiplash injury.

Front seat passengers are also more likely than the vehicle driver to be susceptible to impact injury. Research has found that it is because a passenger may not be aware in advance and prepare for a collision that they incur a greater possibility of sustaining a whiplash neck injury. The driver is more likely to have ‘braced’ themselves to meet the impact.

Where a passenger is seated can also influence injury likelihood and outcome. The most common cause of whiplash injury is a rear-end collision (accounting for over 40 per cent of whiplash injuries) and it is the front seat passengers – not rear seat passengers - who are at greatest risk. Side impact collisions account for 35 per cent of crashes followed by head-on collisions at around 32 per cent.

Interestingly, while a seatbelt is mandatory and can save life in an accident, studies reveal that they can actually increase the risk of a whiplash neck injury because they prevent the body from moving while at the same time increase the strain on the neck. However, proper use and correct adjustment of the head restraint can significantly reduce neck strain and whiplash injury by as much as 40 per cent.