Despite of changes being proposed for future claim for whiplash can be awarded against two key areas affecting a victim’s health, wellbeing and individual circumstances, generally classified as general damages and special damages.
Awarded as compensation for the pain, suffering and ‘loss of amenity’ (impact an injury has upon quality or enjoyment of life) the sufferer experiences as a direct result of their whiplash injury. While not life-threatening or even permanent, a ‘before and after accident’ comparison of lifestyle is made.
It is important to note that up to 1 in 5 Acute Whiplash sufferers who experience short -term discomfort and stress as a result of neck pain will continue experiencing debilitating symptoms of a longer term Chronic Whiplash condition. Consequently, around three quarters of whiplash victims can take a year to regain their normal health and may not fully recover for a period of two years.
Evaluating the extent of the effect of the injury will mean more pain and suffering can directly relate to an increased amount of general damages awarded. An independent medical report, which will be required to assess the severity of whiplash, and the current and probable future impact upon future life that determines an appropriate compensation figure to reflect ‘general damages.’
The distinctions between a neck injury and the potentially more serious whiplash injury should never be underestimated, and will always require diagnosis by a doctor’s full examination.
Damages claimed for the second category are based upon the severity of financial loss encountered as a direct result of whiplash injury and are intended to restore a previous financial position before the accident took place. Therefore, losses which can be claimed can include loss of earnings, medical treatment, and accompanying treatment travelling expenses and the cost of any specialist equipment required. The special damages figure is then added to the sum of general damages to create a total whiplash compensation settlement amount presented to the liable party.