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Whiplash claims &
neck injury compensation

Whiplash claims & neck injury compensation

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How to claim for whiplash after a car accident

After a road accident, it can be a difficult and frustrating time.

Whiplash injuries are often the result of a sudden violent movement. It stretches and tears the ligaments in the head and neck, sometimes causing further damage to the soft tissue near the top of the spine. Injuries are usually associated with car accidents, but almost any incident involving sudden movement of the head and neck can lead to a whiplash-type injury, such as playing sports or riding a roller coaster.

Whiplash is often seen as a mild injury, but the effects can last for a long time. In some cases it can leave an injured person in discomfort for several months. There are also several chronic pain conditions that can develop as a result of a whiplash injury. If you are in a low speed crash, then you may be at risk of a whiplash injury from the extreme G-forces involved in these kinds of accidents. The sudden acceleration or braking involved creates the “jerking” motion of the head and neck that is a key feature of a whiplash injury.

Whiplash often occurs in accidents at speeds of between 1 and 25 miles per hour. Studies have shown that even accidents at very low speeds (as low as 3 miles per hour) still have the potential for those involved to suffer significant injuries.

We approach whiplash compensation on a case by case basis; considering individual circumstances, specific details of the accident and severity of the injury. The symptoms of whiplash may take weeks, months or longer to appear and can develop into a debilitating injury. At Your Legal Friend, our whiplash compensation solicitors can help you claim justifiable compensation for your injuries.

For a confidential chat, call one of our experts today  0808 301 8622    As seen on TV

Frequently asked questions

What is whiplash?

Car accidents can cause you to jerk your head and neck in such a way that stretches and tears your ligaments. It is a common outcome of minor crashes and because of this, people often think it is a mild injury. Whiplash is actually a phrase that covers mild sprains to severe soft tissue damage. Suffering from whiplash can be quite painful and cause major discomfort as it causes damage to the soft tissue at the top of your spine, which could result in it becoming a lifelong injury.

Do I have whiplash?

If you’ve recently been involved in an incident that has caused you to jerk your head or neck in a sharp, abrupt way, it's possible that you could have suffered a whiplash injury. The best thing for you to do is to go to your GP in the days immediately after the incident for an assessment.

Whiplash can happen to cyclists, motorcyclists or even to people playing sports and it is always advisable to seek medical attention, even if your injury only seems mild. Your GP may be able to offer treatment to ease your pain, and assess your ability to work with your injury at the same time.

What are the symptoms of whiplash?

As whiplash describes injury to the neck and upper back, stiffness and pain in these areas are the primary symptoms. There are other common symptoms associated with Whiplash, these can include but are not limited to:

  • Headaches
  • Blurred vision and tiredness
  • Swelling, tender inflamed skin
  • Shoulder and arm pain – also back pain, particularly when walking
  • Dizziness, and sickness

How long does it take for whiplash symptoms to appear?

Initial symptoms can appear in the days following your incident but in some cases it can take several months for the full extent of your injuries to become apparent. Whiplash can then develop into a chronic condition, which again takes time and you will need to have your symptoms assessed as you heal. If you’ve suffered a serious whiplash injury then it may be beneficial for your case to wait until you know the full extent of your injury in order for us to be able to seek the maximum compensation amount for you.

How long does whiplash last?

The effects of a whiplash injury can last a few days, causing minimal disruption to your everyday life. On the other hand whiplash can also develop into a lifelong condition, which is why it is important to seek medical advice as early as possible. A doctor can refer you for physiotherapy, administer pain treatments and support you in your recovery. If your injury does develop into a chronic condition, your GP will also have then documented and monitored your symptoms making it easier for you to make a claim.

For a confidential chat, call one of our experts today  0808 301 8622    As seen on TV

Who can claim for whiplash?

The criteria for a whiplash claim is anyone who has suffered the injury through no fault of their own such as being involved in a non-fault road traffic accident.

When bringing a claim, it must be within three years from the date that the whiplash injury occurred. It must have had an impact on your life in some way, such as loss of earnings due to being unable to work or it could be that your injury prevents you from enjoying activities that you may have carried out in the past.

Can I claim for whiplash as a passenger?

As a passenger, you can claim for whiplash as long as it is within 3 years of the date of the accident. Whiplash as an injury can be suffered by anyone, not just the driver of a car. As a passenger, the process of claiming is much the same as it is if you were the driver and involved in a non-fault road accident.

You can also claim for a whiplash payout as a passenger if the collision was the fault of the driver of the car you were travelling in.

How do I claim for whiplash?

Making a claim for whiplash begins with a phone call with one of our claim advisors to discuss your circumstances. We assess each individual case with care to give you accurate expectations of the amount of compensation you can potentially claim.

We will take details of the incident over the phone to get a full picture of what happened and what steps we need to take next.

Our calls are free and confidential and we aim to call you back within 10 minutes from the time you submitted your initial enquiry. We understand that not everyone has time to talk during normal working hours so we can arrange a phone appointment whenever is convenient to you.

What is the average claim value for whiplash?

We’re often asked “How much compensation can you get for whiplash?” – but the amount received relates to individual circumstances of the incident so it is impossible to give an accurate average whiplash settlement figure.

An average whiplash claim for minor cases may result in a payout of between £1,170-£4,450. Moderate whiplash claims can average between £4,450-£14,500 and in major cases, you can see amounts awarded of between £14,500-£88,000.

Are all whiplash claims the same?

Cases of whiplash vary from person to person, as does the effect of the injury and any damages awarded will reflect this. An experienced personal injury solicitor will negotiate with insurers to ensure that you receive the maximum compensation possible for your injury and circumstances.

For a confidential chat, call one of our experts today  0808 301 8622    As seen on TV

Can I claim for mild whiplash?

You can, - If the accident happened less than 3 years ago and there has been some effect on your life. Only you can decide if the effects of your injury merit the pursuit of a compensation claim. If you have suffered any loss of earnings, or inconvenience, it could be worth discussing the matter further.

What are the symptoms of severe whiplash?

Symptoms of whiplash can sometimes be very severe and may include:

  • Memory loss
  • Problems concentrating
  • Ringing in your ears

If you develop any of these symptoms following an accident, it is important that you seek medical attention as soon as possible. As part of our claims process, we will arrange a medical assessment from an independent clinician, but strongly advise that you seek medical attention from your local GP as soon as you can.

What about fraudulent whiplash claims?

Fraudulent whiplash claims in the UK have been a high profile story in the media this year as fake claims, harm motorists’ insurance, and also pulls resources away from genuine cases. We have a thorough vetting process to ensure that all cases that we take on are from genuine claimants.

Actions to discourage fake claims should not discourage you from making a genuine claim. The safety net of insurance and the processes of claiming compensation exist for a reason. They are there to ensure genuine claims receive due damages and to compensate losses that may have occurred.

Can I claim for whiplash if the accident was my fault?

No - If an accident was your fault, you will not be able to pursue a claim for whiplash. In the event of a collision though, liability is not always clear. It is easy to assume fault in the aftermath of a crash whilst in shock. Do not assume liability for an accident before you are in full possession of the facts and have a clear head to consider the incident. If in doubt, call one of our advisors to discuss your situation further.

What are the 2018 whiplash claims reforms?

A whiplash claims payout in 2017 will look quite different to the expected typical whiplash settlement after the 2018 reforms.

There are changes coming into effect in November next year based on a 2016 publication from the ministry of justice. This report into the soft tissue injury claims process was aimed at reducing false claims, with whiplash claims being capped.

The changes will introduce a fixed tariff for soft tissue injury claims, which will be set against the duration of your injury, if the injury has lasted less than 2 years. It does mean that the amount of compensation you are entitled to will be much lower. All cases under £5000 will be considered small claims for road traffic accidents. This means more motorists will be predicted to go through the small claims court rather than pursuing a claim using a solicitor for car accident claims. The changes also mean that insurers will not be able to offer a settlement unless there has been an independent medical assessment of the claimant.