ROAD TRAFFIC ACCIDENTS
Whiplash Injury Compensation Claims
Whiplash claims are usually made by people who have been injured in road traffic accidents that are not their fault. The accident circumstances that feature most often in whiplash injury claims are when a stationary vehicle has been bit hit from behind by another vehicle.
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Whiplash compensation claims are not only caused by ‘rear end shunts’. Drivers and passengers in a vehicle can also suffer whiplash injury in head-on collisions or when their vehicle is struck side-on.
Whiplash injuries aren’t necessarily the result of high-speed collisions, either. People also suffer whiplash in low-velocity impacts i.e., accidents where the vehicles are only travelling slowly when they collide.
Wearing a seat belt can actually increase the severity of whiplash injury. This is because as the head jolts forward, the upper body is thrown against the restraining seat belt.
Yet, the wearing of seat belts is compulsory where fitted in a motor vehicle. Besides, whilst seat belts may actually add to the effects of whiplash injury occasionally, they do prevent other more serious injuries. Numerous front-seat passengers and drivers have been saved from being thrown through the windscreen of their vehicle as a result of seatbelts doing their job properly!
Is whiplash injury only caused by road traffic accidents?
Whiplash injury claims are not only caused by road traffic accidents. Other types of accidents where whiplash injuries are common include:
- Slip, trip or fall accidents – e.g., a person slips or trips on a faulty pavement and the fall results in them banging their head on the floor.
- Accident at work claims – workplace injuries quite often include claims for whiplash injury e.g., a warehouse worker is hit by a falling object from a shelf which causes a wrenching up the neck and shoulders.
What is a whiplash injury?
Whiplash is a form of neck sprain. It is a neck injury that is caused by a sudden movement of the head forwards, backwards or sideways. In a motor vehicle accident, for instance, the driver or passengers find that this snapping of the head, forward, backwards or sideways, often leaves them with a very real pain in the neck and/or shoulders!
The pain may come on almost immediately. More often than not though, straight after the accident, a victim will just feel very shocked and shaken up. The pain from the whiplash injury then starts to affect the victim anything from a few minutes after the accident, up to a period of 24 hours or even longer.
What has actually happened is that the discs, ligaments or muscles have been damaged by the sudden jerking of the head in all directions. Small vessel tears result, causing swelling and pain.
The symptoms of whiplash
People may suffer whiplash injuries without knowing what it is they are suffering from. The fact that the onset of pain may be delayed can lead to the victim not immediately linking their painful symptoms to being involved in an accident that happened recently!
The symptoms of whiplash will include one or more of the following;
- Neck and/or back and/or shoulder pain
- Muscle spasms
- Restriction of movement in the upper body
- Change of mood – anxiety, depression
How long does it take to recover from a whiplash injury?
Whiplash injuries vary greatly in their severity. People suffering only minor soft tissue injuries may well be fully recovered within a few weeks or months.
However, more severe whiplash injuries can last for a number of years and in very severe cases, for as many as 10 years, causing severe restrictions on the sufferer’s everyday life.
Even moderate whiplash cases lasting 12 months to 2 years can badly impact upon what the affected person can do.
Driving, playing sport, exercising and work can become difficult. Having to have time off work causing loss of earnings is not uncommon in the case of a whiplash injury.
How much is a whiplash injury worth?
It has become a bit of a cliché to say that ‘no two claims are ever the same’, but in the case of whiplash injury compensation cases, it is certainly true.
What might seem like a relatively minor whiplash injury claim when someone first consults a personal injury solicitor, can end up being something more severe.
Whiplash is a notoriously difficult injury to give a firm prognosis for i.e., it can be hard to predict how long it will be before a whiplash injury sufferer becomes symptom-free.
The amount of compensation that an experienced road traffic accident claims solicitor is able to recover in a whiplash injury claim, depends on how long their client suffers from the effects of the injury.
What effect the whiplash injury has on a person’s day to day life is also a factor in determining how much compensation they will be awarded.
For instance, if they are an active sportsperson, but they are unable to take part in the sport for the length of time that they suffer from whiplash, this will have an effect on increasing the value of their compensation claim.
Medical evidence will play the most important part in deciding how much compensation will be paid for a whiplash personal injury claim. The claimant’s solicitor arranges for their client to be medically examined by an experienced medical expert. The doctor’s report that follows that examination, forms the basis of the evidence to support the claim.
Once the solicitor has all the medical evidence that they need to support the whiplash injury compensation claim, then they will be in a position to advise their client much their claim is worth.
Can you claim for other losses in a whiplash injury claim?
As well as making a claim for the pain and suffering that the whiplash injury causes, a claim can also be made for financial losses e.g., for loss of earnings for time off work as a result of the injuries sustained in the accident.
The cost of treatment for physiotherapy or other types of rehabilitation can be recovered too, as long as the treatment is for an injury that can be directly attributed to the accident and is proportionate in terms of cost.
Experienced personal injury solicitors can usually get upfront payments (known as interim payments) to cover treatment, medical costs and other already incurred losses.
Should I make a whiplash claim?
Some years ago, APIL (The Association of Personal Injury Lawyers) published a report which contained the findings of research that they had commissioned. Some of the results may have surprised many people, particularly those working in the insurance industry.
For instance, the research revealed that 40% of people who had suffered a whiplash injury in an accident caused by someone else, did not claim compensation for it.
The report also highlighted that:
- one in five whiplash victims suffers symptoms for more than a year.
- almost 9% of whiplash sufferers are diagnosed by a medical professional.
- whiplash claims, far from being on the increase, are on the decline.
We mention this to balance out some of the press reports which suggest that the UK is the ‘whiplash capital of Europe’, or that there is a ‘whiplash epidemic’, with ‘ever-rising numbers of fraudulent whiplash claims’ being made.
There is no whiplash epidemic, and the numbers of whiplash claims are falling, not rising.
Why you should make a whiplash claim
If you are reading this webpage because you have suffered a whiplash injury in a car accident, an accident at work or as a result of a slip or trip on the pavement, then it is likely that you are considering whether to make a claim.
Rest assured – if you are suffering from whiplash as a result of an accident that wasn’t your fault, it is your right to make a No Win, No Fee whiplash injury claim and you should do so.
Anyone who has suffered whiplash injury knows what a debilitating injury it can be and how much of an adverse effect it can have on your day to day life.
You are fully within your rights to be fully compensated for the pain, suffering and inconvenience that your whiplash injury is causing or has caused you.
How do I start a whiplash compensation claim?
Once you have decided to make a claim, we believe that it is in your best interests to start the process by contacting an experienced firm of personal injury solicitors, like Mooneerams.
At Mooneerams Solicitors, we are not only experienced personal injury compensation solicitors, but we believe that we are the only purely claimant personal injury solicitors in Wales. As experts in whiplash injury compensation claims, we have recovered many thousands of pounds worth of compensation for clients, ever since we started, in 2002.
We act only for people like you who have suffered a whiplash injury and wish to make a claim against the person or company that was responsible for the accident that caused your injury. We do act for clients who are based all over wales and England! We do not act for insurance companies to defend claims or for claims management companies who sell claims.
Contact Mooneerams to start your whiplash claim
You will straightaway speak with an experienced personal injury lawyer, who will explain the process in plain English. We will explain the steps we will take on your behalf, which will include ensuring that you are fully medically examined by an experienced doctor.
After speaking with us, you are under no obligation to make a claim and the initial advice we provide you with will be entirely FREE of charge.
If after talking through the circumstances of the accident with us, we think that you have a valid claim, you may decide that you want us to make a whiplash claim on your behalf.
Call Mooneerams now on 029 2048 3615 and speak to one of our friendly and helpful lawyers. We fight very hard for our clients to ensure that they get the maximum amount of compensation possible. If you prefer to email us you can do so at [email protected]. In most cases, we will be able to bring a claim for you by taking your claim on, on a no win no fee basis.
It is worth remembering that you have 3 years from the date of the accident in which to start a claim. However, the sooner you seek legal advice, the better, whilst all the evidence surrounding the accident is still fresh in everyone’s mind.
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