Whiplash is usually the result of suffering from a violent automobile accident, although many athletes suffer from this injury while participating in sporting events.
The head is thrown backwards, forwards and even sidewards causing damage to the tendons and in most cases severe pain. Headaches stiffness and restriction of movement in the neck area are just a few of the symptoms that whiplash victims may suffer. In some cases, the symptoms are experienced immediately, for others, the symptoms may only surface a few hours or days after the injury occurred.
What to Do if You Suspect You May have Whiplash?
Since the affects of whiplash may take some time to surface, you should be examined by a medical practitioner as soon as possible. You should also get in touch with a personal injury lawyer who will begin documenting the incident immediately. As always, knowledge is power, so make sure that you learn all you can about whiplash compensation. This is especially true since the courts and insurance companies view most whiplash compensation claims as fraudulent. So you need to know exactly what is required of you in order to have a successful claim.
How Many People Claim for Compensation?
The reduction in the number of compensation claims for whiplash is credited to stringent measures put in place by Government to prevent fraudulent claims. However, according to a survey performed in 2012 by the Industry association of personal injury lawyers, only 7% of whiplash claims are found to be fraudulent, which makes the other 93% genuine.
The study also revealed that 40% of victims never claim, 90% of victims have their condition diagnosed by a medical professional and 47% of sufferers actually down-played their symptoms because they didn’t want to make a fuss. These alarming figures reveal that far too many people are suffering in silence as they perhaps fear being accused of fraud and cheating insurance.
How Much Compensation Do I Receive for Whiplash?
The amount of money you receive for a whiplash claim depends on a number of factors. The extent of your injury, the impact of the injury on your daily activities and ability to earn an income and your out of pocket expenses resulting from the injury are all taken into account when deciding on your compensation. Whiplash is regarded as a minor injury when you experience mild to moderate pain in the neck for a few days leading up to a year.
If you are able to ease the symptoms with the use of medication and limited physiotherapy, it is usually classified as a minor injury and your claim amount will justify that.
If you suffer for up to 2 years, spend a considerable amount of money on pain relief and cannot resume daily activities or resume work as normal, this is considered as moderate injury.
You will have suffered a severe injury if you experience symptoms of pain for more than 2 years. It is also a severe injury if you have been diagnosed with an irreversible injury, need life-long medical treatment and can never resume your daily activities or go back to work. In extreme cases such as these the compensation will naturally be a lot higher than for minor or moderate injuries.
Mild injuries with symptoms lasting just a few days or weeks usually pay out between 1,000 to 2,750 pounds, while more severe cases that include spinal damage can pay out up to 97,500 pounds. If you have your own personal solicitor, your chances of receiving a greater amount are increased.
What am I Compensated for?
Victims of whiplash are firstly compensated for the pain and suffering that is experienced as a direct result of the injury. These general damages are assessed by taking into consideration the victim’s medical evidence, ongoing problems – if there are any, expected recovery time and possibility of full recovery. Victims are also compensated for loss of amenity – which refers to a reduced quality of life that victims experience due to the injury. This may refer to the inability to perform certain duties at work or home but would not affect an accident at work claim. It may also refer to the awkwardness or total lack of ability to continue with hobbies or interests.
In some exceptional cases, loss of employment may result from the victim being injured and therefore unable to carry out duties to their full capacity. Ultimately, the point of compensation for this injury is to somehow make amends for the pain and suffering, emotional distress and of course financial loss as a result of whiplash on the individual.
What Else Can I Claim for?
Unfortunately, suffering from whiplash may impact various areas of your life, especially your financial one. This entitles you to also claim for these expenses, referred to as special damages. Special damages refer to the following out of pocket expenses:
- Special care while you are recovering
- Hospital visits and parking fees
- Loss of earnings or your bonus at work
- Money spent on medication and other pain relief
- Additional household costs
- Money spent on travel expenses
Please note that the victim is not entitled to make a profit from these special damages, but to simply recover that which has been spent, unnecessarily, due to the injury.
To Claim or Not to Claim
Many innocent people suffer from the uncomfortable and painful symptoms of whiplash. What is even more frightening is that many people choose to suffer in silence and not make a claim. If you are a person who is easily influenced by the media, you may be put off filing for a claim, even though you are seriously injured. However, the law says that if you have suffered pain and distress, you are entitled to compensation.
There is no telling how long you may suffer with these symptoms or even how far it will affect your life as you know it. This is why you should take every measure to have a compensation claim for whiplash, filed.
Factors that Will Affect Your Claim
There are a few requirements that must be met in order to have a successful outcome. One of these requirements include the verification or diagnosis of the whiplash injury by a doctor. The validity and availability of witness’s statements also tends to play a role in the case. The type and frequency of treatment sought by the victim once the whiplash was diagnosed should also be carefully recorded. Any other form of treatment sought will also be recorded and documented.
One of the most vital aspects of your claim is the amount of time that you took to file a claim. This will bring up the sense of urgency factor that will carry a large amount of weight in court. There are quite a few insurance companies that won’t pay out if your claim is not filed within a certain period of time, irrespective of whether liability has been accepted by the third party or not.
Many people believe that there is a stigma attached to compensation claims, however, if you have been injured due to the negligence of someone else, you are completely and unequivocally entitled to compensation for everything that is experienced as a result of your injury.