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Whiplash Injury – On A Case By Case Basis

Woman wearing a neck brace
4th September 2013

The physical and psychological effects of a car collision – or indeed any circumstance where the human body is subject to sudden, excessive movement and exaggerated distortion – are still not entirely understood by medical research.

Even the Transport Select Committee Report, July 2013, which took consultation with a wide professional spectrum of both written and verbal evidence included in their published summary that, “There is no generally accepted objective test for a whiplash injury.”

Even though it’s believed that long-term whiplash symptoms is caused by nerve damage while short-term pain may be the result of minor injury to the muscles, there is no doubt that each individual whiplash claim must be carefully examined on a case-by-case basis. One of the TSC recommendations is the setting up of “accredited doctors or organisations”, who would submit detailed evidence on standard forms.

The neck is always vulnerable

Whiplash injury can be sustained in a moving vehicle by any sudden, excessive sideways movement and does not necessarily have to be caused just by front / rear end collisions or side impact. Unexpected jerking of the neck or shoulders is actually most known to occur when drivers try to suddenly swerve to avoid a pothole / speed bump, road works or attempt to quickly overtake another vehicle.

Research has found that a side impact from another vehicle only accounts for 1 in 10 of all whiplash injuries, of which, just around a half involve a collision with a vehicle at a crossing or junction. The highest number – nearly 4 in ten – of whiplash injuries result from a collision with a vehicle turning right.

Previous studies also point to low-speed, rear-end vehicle collisions of between 2 – 5 mph as being responsible for victims reporting whiplash associated disorder symptoms.

Varieties of genuine whiplash claimants

It should also be remembered that sitting for long periods without exercise can also lead to symptoms similar to whiplash as well as sports activities where there is a higher than average risk of receiving a similar injury. Other medical conditions, such as arthritis can cause neck and shoulder aches as well as the build-up of stress and tension, which can often lead to the commonly experienced neck pain condition.

Every individual’s physiology is always likely to be different and it will be crucial to ensure that all varieties of genuine whiplash injury claimants are correctly identified and protected by future medical assessments."