Claiming for Whiplash Compensation
What is whiplash?
Unfortunately, sustaining a whiplash injury from a road traffic accident is a common experience.
The NHS define whiplash as:
“…a type of neck injury caused by sudden movement of the head forwards, backwards or sideways. It occurs when the soft tissues in the neck become stretched and damaged.”
Due to the nature of an impact in a car collision, where your body is restrained for safety with a seatbelt, it is all too easy for the head and neck to become damaged in this way.
A mixture of factors, from the commonality of its occurrence, through to the difficult nature to confidently diagnose the condition, means that whiplash compensation claims have seen a significant amount of bad press leading to proposed whiplash claims law changes that make it harder for a false claim to gain validity.
This is good for people with a genuine whiplash injury claim, but it can be off-putting, and many people don’t start their rightful claim for compensation for fear that they are doing something wrong.
Don’t fall into the trap of feeling guilty for upholding your rights – if you have suffered from a whiplash injury after a road traffic accident then you are entitled to financial compensation.
Any changes in the law have been delayed until 2020, so claiming for whiplash is open for all sufferers of the condition.
The most important thing to consider before thinking about the average claim amount for whiplash and how you might use the money to recover, is whether you legitimately have whiplash or not.
If you are suffering any of the following symptoms after a collision on the road then you may have whiplash:
- Tenderness in your neck
- Neck pain
- Stiff neck
- Difficulty when trying to move your head
- Muscle spasms in your neck or shoulders
- Shoulder pain
- Pain in your arms
Some less-common symptoms which may still indicate whiplash include:
- Pins and needles in your arms or hands
- Loss of memory
- Difficulty concentrating
If you do wish to claim for whiplash, then it is imperative that you go to see your GP immediately. A medical examination and paperwork to prove your symptoms goes a very long way to being able to push forward a whiplash claim in the UK.
Getting whiplash is, of course, not limited to the driver of the vehicle. If any of your passengers have suffered from whiplash as well as you then you will want to put a multiple-person claim in together.
If there were children in the car who you are responsible for, then you should take them to the doctor to be checked out and be ready to claim for compensation on their behalf.
Younger children and babies can suffer greatly from undiagnosed whiplash and you should make sure to seek the right professional medical advice to ensure their comfort during recovery.
When calculating the final award, a court uses a set of national guidelines to make sure they award a whiplash claim amount that is in line with similar cases across the country.
According to those guidelines, the current payouts and average settlement for whiplash is as follows:
- Able to recover fully within three months: £300 to £1,950
- Able to recover fully between three months and one year: £1,950 to £3,470
- Full recovery takes between one and two years: £3,470 to £6,290
- Anything more of a long-term whiplash injury could result in a higher payout amount.
Please note that these are just guidelines (from the Judicial College) and your compensation amount could fall outside these brackets, depending on all the circumstances.
Remember, however, that compensation isn’t all about how much you can get for pain and suffering after a car accident, but also takes into account your expenses and other financial effects of the collision.
While whiplash is a minor injury that typically heals within a few weeks or months, personal injury claims often come with significant extra expenses – from medical bills to adjustments that must be made to accommodate a lower level of movement ability.
If your whiplash-related condition has any knock-on effects, be sure to include it as part of the whiplash claim process.
Additional expenses can include:
- Travel costs and parking
- Reimbursement of the cost of medicine and prescriptions
- Loss of earnings due to time off work
- Additional household costs for help while you are unable to perform basic tasks
- Costs for recovery care
By coming to a specialist personal injury claims legal company like us at Non Fault Claims, you make sure you get independent advice and the guarantee of full support without prejudice.
While you may have legal cover with your insurance company that can offer a minimal level of support in matters such as this, they are likely to want to settle early to avoid additional costs and will often accept the first offer on the table.
Typically, going through your insurance company can see a 30% to 50% drop in the amount of any finally agreed settlement.
There’s also the chance of losing your no-claims bonus when using your insurance company to provide legal cover for a personal injury claim, which may seem insignificant but can cost you hundreds, if not thousands of pounds over the next few years.
After contacting us first at Non Fault Claims, your claim will be listened to by an experienced advisor who will make an initial assessment to see if there is any chance of a compensation award. If they believe your case is worth following, they will pass you on to our specialist legal team who will contact you at a convenient time.
Our personal injury solicitor will discuss the specifics of your claim with you and be able to give you a realistic estimate regarding the award value you can look forward to. If there is anyone else involved in your road traffic accident, whether or not they are making a claim, then the solicitor may want to speak with them – there’s every chance that they should be making a claim alongside you.
Your solicitor will build the case for your compensation claim. They may need you to see an independent medical expert to make sure that you have the strongest possible chance of an award.
Next, they will contact the at-fault insurance company to make the claim for compensation. In most cases of whiplash compensation, a settlement will be made without any need to go to an actual court. Solicitors on both sides will be well-versed in similar claims and should be able to find an agreement which works well for both. Remember, though, that your personal injury solicitor is working for you and will fight for the maximum possible compensation claim.
If it is impossible to reach an agreement, then the matter may end up going to a final claims court.
Give us a call at Non Fault Claims today. We operate on a No Win No Fee basis, so pursuing a whiplash claim with us will cost you nothing!
Our advisors will be able to help you with any questions, and they will manage your claim in a thorough and professional manner which will see you on your way to the thousands of pounds of compensation you could be due.