What is Whiplash?

whiplash after a car accident

Whiplash is a modern injury that is normally caused as a result of a vehicle accident. Where the injured party is wearing a seatbelt and the sudden deceleration of the car as a result of it being hit or it hitting something causes the injured parties head and neck to dramatically fly forward and then backwards.

If you are not wearing a seat belt you are less likely to have whiplash but sadly will often end up with more serious injuries.

Why does Whiplash alway get bad press?

Whiplash is much understood and is the poster whipping boy for the insurance industry. The insurance industry champion against whiplash claims on the back of a few fraudulent claims. Claiming that whiplash claims are all false and should be banned. To be fair to the insurers they have done a fantastic job of lobbying the government to get the law changed. So well, in fact, that it looks like next year there wishes may be granted and changes in the law will effectively make it pointless in anyone claiming for a personal injury claim where the injury is whiplash.

The reason the insurers hate whiplash personal injury claims is that as an actual injury it is hard to diagnose. A CT scan will not pick it up a Xray will not pick it up either. So it is down to the GP or NHS Doctor to determine by various versions of bend here, do this, how much does it hurt which for the insurance industry who have to pay out for these injury claims not black or white.

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How do you know if you have whiplash?

If you have been involved in an accident where there was a sudden deceleration and are suffering from one or some of the following symptoms then you may well have Whiplash. Don't forget often after an accident you have a sudden increase in the adrenalin hormone whilst can cover the initial symptoms for a day or so. Normally, however, the symptoms develop within 24 hours from the accident. Always seek medical attention if the pain and discomfort become worse. Being a 'hardman' 'i can handle it' sort of person will not help you recover any quicker.

  • Neck pain and stiffness
  • Worsening of pain with neck movement
  • Loss of range of motion in the neck
  • Headaches, most often starting at the base of the skull
  • Tenderness or pain in shoulder, upper back or arms
  • Tingling or numbness in the arms
  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness

Some people may also experience the following:

  • Blurred vision
  • Ringing in the ears (tinnitus)
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Irritability
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Memory problems
  • Depression

How much compensation will I get for making a Whiplash Claim?

Each claim is unique. In addition, whiplash might only be one of your injuries and so will form part of your claim. However, if your claim is for a straight forward hit in the rear and you suffered from whiplash symptoms for a few months and needed to attend your local A&E Hospital and/ or your GP twice of that period of suffering then you would be looking at in the region of between £1000 and £2000.

If the symptoms persist beyond a few months and you needed further treatment be it mental and/ or physical then the amount will rise. Bare in mind the British compensation payout rates are nothing like they are in say the United States where they have an additional level called 'punitive damages' where the award against the third party for causing the accident can run into several million.

What you must do is report the accident first and foremost. To your insurer to the police if need be. You need to be medically checked to verify you have got whiplash (this is a personal injury claim, after all, if you can't prove you were injured in an accident then you don't have a claim).

Stop and think about all the different things this accident has had an impact on you. Record everything. If you have to take time off work, incur expenses to travel that you would have had prior to the accident. Any additional care required in fact read this page as it explains things better.