Can you claim compensation for whiplash?

Whiplash is a common injury suffered by people who have been in car accidents. Many people do not realise how much the injury can impact upon a person’s life in the aftermath of a crash, in physical, emotional and financial terms. That’s why whiplash claims are often seen as scams for easy money, but actually they help people be able to recover and move on with their life after their injury.

What is whiplash?

Whiplash is the name given to a neck injury that is caused by a person’s head suddenly moving. Because it is a type of sprain, the soft tissues in the person’s neck become stretched and damages, which can be very painful. The pain can become increasingly worse and is usually only noticed about 6 to 12 hours after the incident occurs. Symptoms include:

  • Headaches
  • A stiff neck
  • Memory loss
  • Muscle spasms in the neck
  • Dizziness
  • Difficulty moving the head

These symptoms can last for days, or even weeks. If they last for longer than a couple of months, the person will be considered to have chronic whiplash. This can be very inconvenient and may lead to the person suffering having to take time off work and/or stop carrying out hobbies and leisure activities.

Although whiplash is most commonly an injury caused by car accidents, it can occur after any incident that causes the person’s head to move forwards, backwards, or sideways suddenly.

What are the effects of whiplash?

Whiplash can affect people in different ways depending on a range of factors, including how the initial incident occurred, how the neck was sprained and the person who is suffering and how they are physically made up. However, some of the common knock-on effects of whiplash include:

  • Difficulty carrying out day-to-day tasks, such as lifting and carrying shopping or children
  • Developing mental health issues as a result of chronic pain, especially if you are signed off work because of your injury
  • Struggling financially as a result of having to take time off work, or to pay for prescriptions, back and neck supports, and physiotherapy

It isn’t fair for people to have to struggle in their day-to-day lives because of an injury that was not their fault. That’s why it’s possible to claim compensation for whiplash injuries are in place – to help compensate people who are suffering for their physical pain, psychological struggle, and financial stress.

What is the whiplash claims process?

The whiplash personal injury claims process can be summarised in five stages. This doesn’t mean that the process will be over too quickly though, as certain steps take longer than others. Generally, the process for claiming compensation for whiplash goes something like:

  1. Contacting a firm of solicitors to see if you have the potential for making a claim
  2. Undergoing an initial consultation, where you will be asked a range of questions so that your solicitor can assess if you can make a claim
  3. Your solicitor prepares documentation, including medical reports, witness statements and photographs
  4. Your solicitor assesses the impact of your injury, considering how it is affecting you now and how it might in the future
  5. You go to court. Note – this is not always a step that is necessary as most whiplash claims can settle out of court

What to do if you are suffering from whiplash

If you are suffering from a whiplash injury and are unsure whether you could claim compensation, your next step should be to contact a firm of solicitors who specialise in personal injury compensation claims.

They will be able to take you through the process of a claim and, if you are eligible to pursue one, open a case for you. Of course, nothing will take away the fact that you are suffering from a painful injury but receiving compensation can help make your recovery process that little but easier.

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