Whiplash Injury Compensation Claims
Whiplash is recognised as one of the most common causes for individuals to seek compensation. Often associated with road traffic accidents, whiplash can cause a wide range of symptoms which can greatly vary in severity.
The impact that whiplash can have on a victim can be significant and can result in extended periods of time off from work, loss of earnings, inability to carry out normal daily tasks and a host of associated conditions, including emotional and psychological complaints.
If you have suffered whiplash because of the actions or negligence of another party, you may be eligible to make a claim for compensation. We work in partnership with experienced solicitors who can guide you through the processes involved in making a claim as well as provide estimates on the likely timescale and award for your case.
For a free no-obligation consultation, call 0800 678 1410 or request a call back. This is an opportunity for you to talk to an experienced legal adviser about the details of your accident and the injury you have suffered to find out if you have a valid claim.
If you do have a valid whiplash injury claim, an experienced solicitor will be happy to help you on a 100% No Win No Fee basis. This means there are no upfront payments, no hidden fees and if they cannot win your case, you won’t pay a penny.
If you would like to find out if you are eligible to make a no win no fee whiplash claim, call 0800 678 1410 today for a free case assessment.
If you would like to read more about whiplash, including common causes, treatment, compensation amounts and the claims process, our comprehensive guide below will help to provide the answers you need.
|100% No Win No Fee||Maximum Compensation|
|Free Case Assessment||Experienced Injury Lawyers|
Jump to section
The links below can be used to navigate to different sections of our guide to whiplash compensation claims.
- Can I make a claim for whiplash?
- What is whiplash?
- What causes a whiplash injury?
- How much compensation can I claim for whiplash?
- What treatments are available for whiplash injuries?
- How do I make a whiplash claim?
- Will my whiplash compensation claim be No Win No Fee?
- How long will a whiplash claim take?
- Whiplash claim FAQs
Can I make a claim for whiplash?
To be eligible to pursue a whiplash claim there are three key criteria that need to be met.
- You must have been involved in an accident that somebody else was at fault for.
- The accident must have happened within the past three years*
- You must have suffered whiplash or other injuries as a result of this accident.
If you can answer yes to each of the above statements, you should have a valid case to claim compensation.
* For those under 18 years old at the time of the accident, the rules regarding the time limit for making a claim are slightly different. A parent or guardian can process the claim on behalf of their injured child. But if this is not done, the injured person has three years from the date of their 18th birthday to start the claim themselves.
What is whiplash?
Whiplash is a term that is used to cover an extensive range of neck and back complaints, often associated with a sudden and unexpected jolt of the body, like those suffered in a car collision. The effect of the sudden movement causes damage to the soft tissue in the head, neck and back and can cause a victim severe pain and inhibit the ability to move properly.
The symptoms suffered by people who have suffered whiplash can vary considerably. Some of the most common symptoms that you may suffer include:
- Pain, swelling and tenderness in the neck
- Pain and weakness in the arms
- Visual disturbances
- Back pain
- Ringing in the ears
- Stiffness and pain in shoulders
- Jaw pain
The more severe your symptoms are, the greater the compensation payment you are likely to receive. It will be the responsibility of your solicitor to demonstrate how your condition has had a negative impact on your life and to what extent.
Whiplash injuries are not limited to the physical complications that are incurred through an accident. The loss of mobility, restrictions on your ability to carry out normal daily tasks and the pain associated with the condition can also largely impact on the overall well-being of a person. This can have a detrimental effect on their emotional and mental health.
The symptoms are not always felt immediately after an accident. It can take several hours, or even a couple of days, for the symptoms to fully develop.
In most cases, a person will recover from a whiplash injury within a few weeks. But some people can feel the effects for much longer, and it can have a significant impact on their day to day life.
If you have suffered from whiplash following an accident that was caused by the negligence of another person or company, you have a legal right to make a claim for compensation. Contact an experienced solicitor today who will be able to assess your case and provide the legal advice you need.
What causes a whiplash injury?
As mentioned above, whiplash is caused by a sudden movement of the head and neck. This movement can be forwards and backwards or from side-to-side. The abrupt motion causes stretches and tears in the muscles and ligaments, as they are forced beyond their usual range of motion.
Although most commonly associated with car accidents, there are a wide range of different accident types that can lead to a person suffering from whiplash.
Road traffic accidents
There is no doubt that road accidents, and car accidents in particular, are the most common cause of whiplash injury claims. The force of being hit by another vehicle can cause a violent jolt to the body. Even when a seatbelt is worn, there is little protection for the head and neck in the event of an accident.
Slips and trips
Slipping on a wet floor or tripping over can also cause a sudden jolt to the head and neck. Even if you don’t fall over completely, the sudden unexpected movement and you bracing yourself can cause damage to your neck, back and shoulders.
Being struck on the head, shoulders or back by a heavy object can cause significant damage. As well as the obvious risk of head injuries and concussion, this type of accident can also cause whiplash injuries.
There are many different sporting activities where a participant may receive a blow to the head. From contact sports such as boxing, judo and taekwondo through to rugby, football, diving and horse riding. Whenever there is a risk that a person may suffer a sudden blow to the head, there is always a chance that it may result in whiplash.
Of course, the above are just a few examples of some potential causes of whiplash. Whether you have been involved in a road accident, an accident at work or have slipped in a supermarket, if somebody else was at fault for your injury, you have a legal right to be compensated.
How much compensation can I claim for whiplash?
The amount of compensation awarded to you will depend greatly upon the specifics of your individual case. Although your solicitor will be able to provide you with an educated and experienced estimate of the likely sum that you will be awarded, the final figure will depend upon the strength of the case and evidence that is submitted.
How much compensation your whiplash claim is worth will be based on an assessment of two areas of losses. Firstly the pain and suffering itself, which is classed as general damages. Secondly any financial losses you have sustained as a result of the accident, which is classed as special damages.
General damages for whiplash
When making an assessment of general damages, solicitors, insurers and the courts refer to guidelines produced by the Judicial College (previously known as the Judicial Studies Board).
The Judicial College provide minimum and maximum settlement amounts for injuries of various degrees affecting different parts of the body. Based on your medical assessment and period or recovery, your whiplash injury will be categorised as either minor, moderate or severe.
The table below shows example compensation amounts recommended by the Judicial College Guidelines.
|Minor Whiplash||A whiplash injury that heals within a 3 month period||£300 to £1,900|
|Minor Whiplash||A whiplash injury that has a full recovery within 3 to 12 months.||£1,900 to £3,300|
|Minor Whiplash||A whiplash injury that has a full recovery within 1 to 2 years.||£3,300 to £6,000|
Special damages for whiplash
In many cases it is the award of special damages that can make up a significant proportion of the overall compensation awarded in a personal injury claim.
Special damages take into account the financial impact that the accident and injuries have had on your life. This can include the following:
- Loss of earnings – have you had to take time off work due to whiplash? Whether you have had to take two days off work or two months, any loss of earnings related to your accident can be recovered.
- Medical expenses – have you had to pay for prescriptions or private medical treatment? Have you required physiotherapy to help aid your recovery? Providing you have evidence of your losses, such as receipts, these costs can also be claimed.
- Transport costs – suffering from whiplash often reduces mobility in the neck, which can make driving painful and unsafe. So while you recover, you may need to pay for taxis or buses to get to appointments, visit the doctors, etc. Again, as these costs are directly related to your accident and injury, you would be entitled to recover these costs from the party at fault.
When assessing your injuries and financial losses, your solicitors will carry out a full investigation. Medical experts will be used to evaluate your injuries and provide evidence regarding the recovery period, day-to-day impact and any long term effect. They will then look at all areas of financial loss to ensure you are not left out of pocket through no fault of your own.
What treatments are available for whiplash injuries?
It is important that you seek medical advice after an accident to ensure your injuries are correctly diagnosed. The appropriate steps can then be taken to deal with the initial pain and discomfort of the injury and aid your long term recovery.
Treatment for many cases of whiplash just comes down to rest and giving your body the time it needs to heal from the injury naturally. Over the counter painkillers, such as paracetamol and ibuprofen can be taken to help with the pain and reduce inflammation.
In the immediate aftermath of an accident, using ice packs for a few days can also help to ease the pain the reduce swelling. This should be repeated several times throughout the day for up to 10 minutes at a time.
After a few days of using ice packs, replacing this with a hot water bottle or a warm compress can give further relief. Again, this should be done for around 10 minutes at a time and repeated when needed throughout the day.
It is important that you keep your neck as mobile as possible, as this can help to speed up the process of recovery. The NHS recommend that you try your best to continue with your normal daily tasks, and do some gentle exercises for the neck.
If your whiplash injury is more severe or has lasted for several months, your doctor may refer you for a course of physiotherapy. This can involve a combination of neck exercises, massage and gentle manipulation of your neck.
How do I make a whiplash claim?
If you have been involved in an accident, the first step should be to seek medical assistance. As mentioned above, whiplash injuries can take several hours or even days to develop, so it is important that you receive a full medical assessment.
If you were involved in a car accident, you should swap contact and insurance details with the other party. For other accidents, such as accidents at work or those in public places, you should make sure to report the accident to your boss, or whoever owns or is responsible for the area.
If you would like to find out if you have a valid claim for whiplash compensation, the next step is to contact a solicitor for a free consultation. They will discuss the details of your accident and can let you known within as little as 10 minutes if you have a valid claim.
Once your whiplash claim has been initiated, your solicitor will begin the process of gathering the evidence required to support your claim. The details of your claim will then be sent to the insurance company of the third party, who will have a set amount of time to accept or deny liability for the accident.
If liability is accepted, your solicitors will then work hard to negotiate the maximum amount of compensation possible. This will take into account your injuries, the impact they have had on your life and any out of pocket expenses, such as loss of earnings.
If liability for the accident or the injuries you have suffered is disputed, your solicitor may need to initiate court proceedings. This may also be required in situations where an agreement cannot be reached regarding an acceptable settlement figure.
Will my whiplash compensation claim be No Win No Fee?
Yes, your injury solicitor will be happy to assist you on a 100% no win no fee basis. We firmly believe in access to justice, so think it is important that anybody who has been injured in an accident that wasn’t their fault should be able to pursue their legal right to compensation.
By making a no win no fee whiplash claim with the help of a solicitor, you won’t be putting yourself at any financial risk. There are no upfront costs or hidden charges, with the full details of the no win no fee service being transparent and explained in advance.
How long will it take to process my claim?
The amount of time that it takes to process your claim will greatly depend upon the details of your case. Most whiplash claims are relatively straightforward and are processed through the Pre-Action Protocol, which is sometimes referred to as the Claims Portal.
This enforces strict timeframes for both solicitors and insurance companies to respond to claims, provide relevant information, negotiate compensation and reach an out of court settlement.
Due to this, some accident claims for whiplash can be settled in just a few weeks. Beyond this, most are paid out within a four month period.
For more complicated accidents, or those where liability is disputed or an agreement on compensation cannot be reached, the timescale for completion can be significantly longer.
The factors that can impact upon the amount of time that it takes to complete your claim include:
- How quickly liability can be confirmed
- The accessibility of relevant evidence
- The time taken for defendants to respond
- Any ongoing medical treatment or delays in diagnosis
- Time taken for witness statements to be produced
Whiplash Claim FAQs
We understand that initiating any legal process can be a daunting prospect, and you are likely to have many questions relating to your claim. We have tried to cover most of the key points in detail above, but you can also find answers to some more of the frequently asked questions regarding whiplash claims below.
Do whiplash claims ever go to court?
Most whiplash claims are settled outside of court, so although not impossible, it is highly unlikely that you would have to go to court. A court hearing would only be necessary if there is a dispute regarding liability for the accident or the amount of compensation you should be awarded.
Can a passenger make a claim for a whiplash injury?
If you are a passenger in a vehicle that is involved in a road traffic accident, you would be entitled to make a whiplash injury claim.
As a passenger you would have a valid claim whether a third party was at fault or the driver of the vehicle you were travelling in was responsible for the accident.
Can I still make a claim if I wasn’t wearing my seatbelt?
Yes, as long as somebody else was at fault for the accident you may still have a valid claim for whiplash if you weren’t wearing a seatbelt.
As with all personal injury claims, you must be able to prove that the negligence of another person caused your injuries. This could be more difficult if you were not wearing a seatbelt when the accident happened. The defendant may argue that you were partly at fault for your injuries due to not wearing a seatbelt. This is known as contributory negligence.
If there is evidence that your injuries were made worse by the fact that you chose not to wear a seatbelt, the amount of compensation you are awarded may be reduced. This reduction will be based on medical evidence. So if the medical evidence suggests that your injuries were twice as bad as they would have been with a seatbelt in place, your compensation could then be reduced by 50%.
Who pays the compensation awarded for whiplash?
Drivers, employers and business owners have a legal obligation to hold valid insurance. It is this insurance policy, whether it be car insurance, employers liability or public liability insurance, that would pay the compensation that is awarded.
In terms of road accidents, you may be unlucky enough to be involved in a collision with an uninsured driver, or a driver who fails to stop and cannot be traced. In these situations, it may be possible to apply for compensation with the Motor Insurers Bureau (MIB).
Do I need to hire a solicitor to make a whiplash claim?
There is no rule stating that a solicitor must be used to pursue a claim for compensation. So technically speaking you could make a whiplash claim by yourself.
However, research has found that on average those that hired a solicitor received three times as much compensation than those who accepted an offer directly from an insurance company.
So keep in mind that by hiring a solicitor you are gaining their legal knowledge and experience of personal injury claims. They will understand the tricks that insurance companies may use and will be able to put the correct value on your claim to ensure you receive what you are legally entitled to.
I was involved in a minor road accident. Will I still have a valid claim?
Providing somebody else was at fault, the fact that it was a minor accident does not prevent you from making a claim. Even low speed car accidents can result in whiplash injuries to drivers or passengers.
In most cases, a minor accident will cause injuries that are less severe than those that may be sustained in more significant accidents, such as high speed or head on collisions.
As a consequence of this, the compensation awarded for minor accidents is likely to be lower. But as each case is judged on it’s individual merits and circumstances, there may be exceptions to this.