Every year, thousands of people in the United Kingdom suffer from some form of neck injury. However, what numerous individuals do not realise is that they may qualify to file a whiplash claim and receive compensation for the harm they sustained.
As you may have unfortunately already discovered, whiplash refers to a neck injury resulting from a sudden and forceful movement of your head, whether sideways, forward or backward.
1t most commonly occurs during a road traffic accident and causes damage to the tendons and ligaments in the neck. In most cases, whiplash results in neck pain, stiffness, headaches and decreased range of motion in the neck and shoulders. It can take anywhere from six weeks to six months to recover from such injuries. However, in certain cases symptoms may last even longer.
If you have sustained whiplash in an accident that occurred due to the negligence or carelessness of another individual or a corporation, you are almost certainly qualified to seek a settlement from the responsible party. Generally, compensation is awarded by a United Kingdom Court of Law, and is typically given to replace your lost earnings and compensate you for the physical and psychological suffering that occurred as a result of your injury.
Ligaments are the fibrous connective tissues that are responsible for keeping bones and joints attached. Tendons are fibrous bands that connect bones to muscles, and both are quite strong. However, when tendons and ligaments are suddenly stretched beyond their normal range they snap back in place much like a rubber band when you stretch it to capacity and release it in a quick manner. This is the motion that occurs during a whiplash injury and is responsible for the stiffness, pain and tenderness felt after the incident.
It is important to understand that it often takes between six and 24 hours for whiplash symptoms to manifest. Therefore, you may have thought that you escaped your accident unscathed, when in fact you were seriously injured. Once the neck pain and stiffness develop, the symptoms typically get worse over the next two to three days.
As mentioned above, accidents on the road are the primary cause of whiplash; however, such injuries can also occur if you sustain a sudden blow to the head, such as when you participate in a contact sport like rugby or wrestling. Similarly, if you slip and fall and your head is violently jolted backward in a sudden movement, whiplash will almost certainly occur.
How Whiplash is Diagnosed
Fortunately, complicated tests are not typically required to diagnose whiplash, as most physicians recognise such an injury when you describe your symptoms. However, if fractures are suspected, your general practitioner may decide to order x-rays or scans. For this reason, it is important to visit your physician or seek emergency care at once if you have sustained a head injury or been involved in a road accident where your neck was jolted in the aforementioned manner.
Whiplash is almost always a condition referred to as “self-limiting,” which means that even if you want to go about business as usual, pain, soreness and a limited range of motion will typically prevent you from doing so. Fortunately, however, the condition will get better after treatment such as physical therapy, rest and pain control in the form of both anti-inflammatories and opioid analgesics.
In some cases, a neck brace or collar is prescribed, while other times a doctor will suggest that you keep your neck mobile in order to speed your recovery and improved functionality. This is something that varies significantly from one patient to the next, and therefore it is important for you to carefully follow your general practitioner’s instructions. In certain cases, long-term physical therapy is necessary in order to restore your injured tendons and ligaments to their previous, healthy condition.
Although many times whiplash gets better and leaves no lasting physical damage, sometimes chronic whiplash occurs. The latter refers to symptoms of whiplash that last for more than six months. If you have been injured and are experiencing prolonged pain, it may be challenging to carry out basic daily tasks that were easy to complete prior to your injury. This can eventually lead to depression, anxiety and other psychological side effects. In addition, you may be required to stay on painkillers for a substantial amount of time, which can also make it difficult to work or complete daily tasks in an efficient manner. Regardless of the severity of your injuries or whether or not they are short-term or long-term in nature, you should pursue compensation if you sustained whiplash in an accident or incident for which you were not responsible.
The Importance of Documentation
Your actions immediately following the incident that caused your injury are important. Your first reaction to your dilemma can make a significant difference to the success or failure of your future compensation case. One common mistake made by whiplash victims is assuming their injuries are insignificant and subsequently failing to seek evaluation by a physician.
Regardless of how trivial an injury may seem at the time, if you are hurt, it is important to see a doctor immediately. If the injury is related to an incident such as a road accident, you should make sure a police report is taken and that the accident is reported to the agency where your insurance cover was purchased.
You should also get copies of any medical reports so that they can be entered as evidence during court proceedings. Such documentation is essential, as it is very difficult for an injury advice specialist to build a case for your compensation without legal or medical documentation that proves the injury actually took place.
The civil process begins with the filing of an official complaint to a court of law in the UK. This allows the respondent–the individual or company being sued–an appropriate amount of time to offer the injured person a settlement before the case is tried in court. Complaints should be filed in a timely manner in order to avoid going past statutory deadlines, which vary depending on the type of injury you have obtained and how it occurred. When competent injury advice is sought, however, few cases actually result in a trial. The overwhelming majority of cases are compromised or settled prior to a court date, especially when a reputable injury attorney handles the claim. This makes the process much easier and less stressful for the claimant.
Obtaining the Assistance of an Injury Advice Specialist
For a variety of reasons, personal injury compensation claims are often very complicated. For this reason, it is likely that you will find the services of an injury advice specialist extremely beneficial. This is because understanding legal terms and navigating through the court system without the expertise of a personal injury professional can be very challenging. In addition, it is highly unlikely that you will be able to accurately calculate what the amount your claim is worth. In situations where a theft occurred or property was damaged it is easy to arrive at a monetary amount that you would be satisfied with as compensation. However, whiplash injuries and the complications with which they are associated are a bit more difficult to calculate, therefore you should schedule an appointment with one of the aforementioned professionals if you are facing such a situation.
Scheduling an Initial Consultation
If you have decided to seek injury advice regarding your case you should do so as soon as possible. The majority of personal injury solicitors offer a free initial consultation during which the overall worth of your claim can be established. If the injury advice specialist who handles your consultation advises you that your injuries are most likely worth more than £1000, you can be assured that your legal costs will be paid in addition to the monetary compensation you are awarded for your injury. This is commonly referred to as “no win, no fee,” which, as its name implies, refers to the fact that no fee is collected by attorney unless you win your case. Ultimately, the peace of mind you will feel when your whiplash claim is placed in the hands of a qualified legal professional will almost certainly alleviate some of the stress caused by the incident. For this reason you should not delay, but rather seek such guidance immediately following the accident that caused your injury.