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Whiplash Claims

Compensation for Whiplash & Neck Injuries

When it comes to compensation claims, whiplash is one of the most frequent injuries we see. On average, there are over 1500 claims for whiplash daily, and they cost insurance companies above £2 billion annually.

Most incidents occur due to road traffic accidents, and personal injury claims can often lead to the negligent party paying more car insurance.

However, if you’re a whiplash victim and it’s not your fault, you have every right to claim compensation. The claims process can be challenging to navigate, but you can get back on your feet and recover financially with the proper support.

Claims UK is a free legal advice service, giving people the best possible support when determining when they’re eligible for whiplash compensation.

Our team partner with the most reputable no win no fee* legal teams in the UK and guarantee a fully confidential service.

What is whiplash?

In the eyes of the media, whiplash has a bad reputation. But those who’ve suffered whiplash know it can be a crippling injury that results in you having to put your life on hold.

Whiplash typically refers to a specific type of neck injury caused by a sudden jolt or jerk, causing the tissues in the neck to move quickly and beyond their natural range of motion.

Most commonly, whiplash and neck injuries occur due to a road accident or an accident at work.

Common whiplash and neck injury symptoms

It’s normal for symptoms of whiplash to appear a couple of days after the accident that caused the injuries. The time it takes for the injury to have an impact can vary from 12 hours to a couple of days.

Because whiplash is typically a soft tissue injury affecting the ligaments, tendons and muscles in the neck, the pain can get increasingly worse.

It’s not uncommon for whiplash injuries to result in more than a sprain. For example, your accident may have caused a fracture in your neck or caused damage to your spine.

Fractures and spinal injuries can be severe and lead to lifelong pain, so if you’re concerned, you should seek medical attention as soon as symptoms appear.

Typical symptoms of whiplash and neck injuries include:

  • Pain and stiffness in the neck or lower back
  • Bruising or swelling
  • Numbness or pins and needles in your arms or hands
  • Restricted movement
  • Muscle spasms
  • Dizziness, blurred vision or tiredness
  • Headaches or tinnitus (ringing in your ears)

Have you been in an accident that has caused your whiplash? Speak to a trained legal adviser on 0800 234 6438 for free advice, or submit your name and phone number using one of the forms on this page to request a callback.

Claiming for whiplash

Claiming may not be the first thing somebody thinks about when suffering whiplash, but compensation can help you get back to where you were before your injury.

For example, you’ve likely had to take time off work. This may result from being unable to work due to restricted movement or because you’re simply in too much pain, but either way, you’ll likely have received less pay.

If you’re thinking of making a claim, the first step is straightforward: simply use one of the secure online forms on this page or call and speak to a legal adviser for free on 0800 234 6438.

You’ll speak to an expert about your accident and injuries. They’ll advise you whether you have a claim and can pass you on to a personal injury solicitor to handle your case.

Road traffic accidents and whiplash

Your accident may have resulted from a car, motorcycle or bicycle accident. Each of these can lead to a severe and sudden jolt to your neck – causing lasting pain.

Find out more about car accident compensation.

Suffering an accident while on the road can also leave you without transport to and from the doctors or hospital. You may have been out of pocket due to alternative travel costs, such as public transport or taxis.

Claiming for whiplash can recover compensation to reimburse you for the costs of being injured and can provide you with additional funds to get the medical treatment (such as physiotherapy, osteopathy or counselling) you need to help you fully recover.

Claiming as a passenger

If you were in an accident as a passenger, either on public transport or in a private vehicle, you could still make a claim.

Your claim will be against whoever was responsible for your injury and accident, which may be the person driving at the time. This can make many people hesitant about recouping their injury costs. However, road traffic accident claims are usually made against the insurance company of the person responsible, meaning the driver isn’t left out of pocket.

Whiplash Video Get more information on making a claim for whiplash and neck injury compensation with this helpful video guide.

How much can you claim?

Every case is different, so it’s difficult to say precisely how much you’ll receive if you win. However, judges use guideline amounts to decide how much compensation to award for pain and suffering.

These figures don’t include compensation for lost earnings, medical expenses, etc. The example amounts below are taken from the 15th edition of the Judicial College Guidelines for the Assessment of General Damages in Personal Injury Cases.

Injury Type Description Estimated Compensation Amount

  • Severe Neck Injury (I) – Injuries include incomplete paraplegia, permanent spastic quadriparesis, limitation of movement and/or severe headaches. £139,210
  • Severe Neck Injury (II) – Serious fractures or injuries to discs in the cervical spine cause disabilities less severe than those listed above but lead to limited movement of the neck or one or more limbs. £61,710 – £122,860
  • Severe Neck Injury (III) – Injuries such as fractures or dislocations, or serious soft tissue damage and/or ruptured tendons leading to permanent disability. £42,680 – £52,540
  • Moderate Neck Injury (I) – Fractures or dislocations causing immediate symptoms may require spinal fusion. Includes soft tissue injuries to the neck and injuries which limit function or leave the victim vulnerable to further trauma. £23,460 – £36,120
  • Moderate Neck Injury (II) – Soft tissue or wrenching-type injuries or severe disc lesions resulting in cervical spondylosis, limitation of movement, permanent or intermittent pain, stiffness or discomfort. Includes injuries that exacerbate existing conditions for five years or more. £12,900 – £23,460
  • Moderate Neck Injury (III) – Moderate soft tissue injuries which have taken several months/years to heal. Accidents which have exacerbated an existing injury for a shorter period of time, usually less than five years. £7,410 – £12,900
  • Minor Neck Injury (I) – Soft tissue injuries where a full recovery is made within one to two years. £4,080 – £7,410
  • Minor Neck Injury (II) – Soft tissue injuries where a full recovery is made within several months to a year. £2,300 – £4,080
  • Minor Neck Injury (III) – Soft tissue injuries where a full recovery is made within a few months. Up to £2,300

Making a whiplash claim after 31st May 2021

Changes to the way claims are made for whiplash were introduced on 31st May 2021. The new rules were introduced to reduce the number of fraudulent or exaggerated claims.

The main differences are an increase in the small claims limit from £1,000 to £5,000 and whiplash injuries being subject to lower, fixed compensation payouts depending on severity. You can read more about the changes here.

Can you make a whiplash claim if you weren’t wearing a seatbelt?

If you were partially to blame for your whiplash injury (for example, you weren’t wearing a seatbelt), then it’s likely you can still make a compensation claim as long as someone else was partly to blame. However, your compensation will be reduced depending on how much the judge thinks your injury was your fault.

For example, if you weren’t wearing a seatbelt when the crash happened, and the judge thinks you would have received the same injuries even if you wore a seatbelt, you would receive your full compensation.

However, if your injuries could have been reduced if you had worn a seat belt, your compensation would be lower.

In Froom v Butcher (1976), for example, where the claimant was not wearing a seatbelt, the compensation decreased by 15%.

Claiming compensation for whiplash at work

Although whiplash injuries are usually associated with car crashes, they can also be caused in other ways, such as a heavy object falling on you, a slip, trip or fall, or colliding with something or someone.

If you suffer your whiplash injury at work due to your employer’s negligence, a specialist personal injury solicitor can help you claim compensation against them.

Under the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999, every employer has a duty of care to take steps to minimise the risk of workers being injured. This includes giving you the training, equipment and supervision you need to do your job safely. They should also carry out regular risk assessments to ensure the proper precautions are taken.

You might be worried that your employer will punish you or go out of business if you claim them. But you don’t need to worry – it’s illegal for you to be sacked or treated differently because of your claim. Also, your compensation will be paid by employers’ liability insurance, not by them personally.

Find out more about making a work accident claim

Can you make a second claim if your injury gets worse with time?

Most whiplash injuries appear quickly after the accident, so it’s best to contact someone as soon as possible while the details are still fresh in your mind. For most cases, you have three years from when you first realised you were injured to make a whiplash claim. This is set out in the Limitation Act 1980.

You can’t go back and ask for more money once your case is closed, so your solicitor will usually wait until you have a better idea of how your injury is likely to affect you in the future before they start your claim. This is to ensure you receive all the compensation you need to cover the costs and effects of injury your injury moving forward.

What can you do to help your whiplash claim?

If you decide to go ahead with your claim, your injury solicitor will be able to do most of the hard work on your behalf. But if possible, it can be helpful to gather some notes and evidence at the scene of the accident and in the weeks following to help strengthen your case.

For example:

  • Note down the contact details of any witnesses
  • Take photos or videos of the scene of the accident, any injuries to you and any damage to property
  • Try to gain access to CCTV footage of the accident
  • Seek medical attention
  • Keep a written record of the accident itself and any problems that you subsequently face in day-to-day life
  • Writing down the details of any expenses caused by your accident, as well as keeping receipts
  • Ask your doctor for a medical report

If you’re ready to start a claim for your whiplash injury, you can contact a trained legal adviser by calling free on 0800 234 6438 or submitting the online claim form.

Why you shouldn’t make your claim directly with an insurance company

While many people think it’s easier to claim with an insurance company, that’s not always the case. Claiming with the negligent party’s insurance company can cause a lot of problems, and it might be better to get legal representation instead.

Lower payments

Insurance companies will understandably try and get away with paying the minimum compensation – because that’s what they’re there to do. These companies are more worried about making money and will probably raise the negligent party’s motor insurance premiums.

It can cost you more

Many insurance providers tell victims they can make the entire claims process more straightforward by going directly to them, but this is wrong. In most cases, you’ll have to claim through an insurance company, which leaves you open to the fixed recoverable cost regime.

Fixed recoverable costs are the fixed amount an injured party can claim for whiplash compensation and are in place to compensate victims for low-value injuries.

However, you can receive more money through an independent legal service and lower your financial risk.

You have the right to use legal services

If you want to claim the maximum financial compensation, a solicitor can help. Specialist personal injury solicitors have years of experience putting together the strongest possible cases and successfully negotiating fair settlements for their clients.

Also, if your solicitor doesn’t feel the settlement amount offered is sufficient, they’ll help you take your case to court to win you the total amount you deserve.

How does your solicitor go about making a whiplash claim?

If you’re claiming compensation between £1000 and £25,000, your claim will be dealt with through a pre-action protocol such as the Pre-Action Protocol for Low-Value Personal Injury Claims in Road Traffic Accidents or the Pre-Action Protocol for Personal Injury Claims.

More severe cases where compensation exceeds £25,000 will be dealt with outside this low-value procedure. Your solicitor and the other side will have to work to a strict timetable set by the court to complete your claim as soon as possible.

To put a stop to ‘fake’ whiplash claims, the government is planning reforms to limit the amount of compensation payable for whiplash claims and increase the small claims limit.

The changes to the law are expected in 2021 and will see:

  • whiplash claims banned without medical evidence;
  • set compensation amounts – where whiplash-type injuries affect someone for up to two years;
  • a rise in the small claims limits for road traffic accidents from £1,000 to £5,000.

The whiplash compensation process

Whiplash injury claims don’t have to be a pain in the neck, and the right legal team will go out of their way to ensure you get the right financial reward for your injuries. Here’s an idea of how the claims process works.

Legal advice

The first thing you should do is contact an impartial legal advice service. While some people skip this step and go straight to a solicitor, a free service will look at your case and determine whether you’re eligible to make a claim.

Instead of wasting time and spending money on legal fees, you can get the support you need to move forward with your claim.

Claim on a no win no fee basis

Most whiplash compensation claims happen on a no win no fee basis, giving the claimant more security. When you work with a no win no fee lawyer, you don’t pay any money unless they successfully settle the claim.

The best thing about no win no fee lawyers is they won’t take on your case unless they’re confident you’ll be successful.

Gathering evidence

Once the lawyer agrees to take on the case, they’ll begin gathering evidence. You’ll probably have to attend a medical examination and prove the other party was negligent.

In most cases, the no win no fee solicitor will do all of the work, but you can gather your own evidence to ensure the case goes smoothly.

Your lawyer puts the case forward

Your lawyer will present the compensation claim to the negligent party, and they’ll be able to ask for their own evidence. It might mean attending a medical assessment for the insurance company, but it will ensure the claim process moves along.

The other party should make an offer, and it’s up to your solicitor to negotiate. Sometimes, you might not get the offer you want, and the insurance company will choose to go to court.

In such circumstances, the case might go to court, but your solicitor will represent you.

Settling the claim

Once you reach a final agreement, your solicitor will take their fee out of the final amount, and you can settle your injury claim.

How much compensation will I receive for whiplash?

The amount you receive for whiplash depends on the extent of your injuries and how they impact your daily life. All compensation claims are split into two categories:

  • General Damages: The injury itself including loss of amenity and pain and suffering falls under the general damages category.
  • Special Damages: The financial implications of your injury are special damages. For example, losses of earnings, travel costs and medical bills all fall under this category.

The following amounts are estimates only, as the amount of compensation you receive depends on the severity of your injuries and how they impact your life.

Injury Average Compensation Amounts
Whiplash with a back injury that causes moderate pain Up to £12,510
Minor whiplash with or without back injury Between £12,510 and £38,780
Whiplash with a serious back injury Between £38,780 and £160,980

If you’d like free, impartial advice, speak to Claims UK

Whiplash injury compensation claims don’t have to be challenging, and with the right team, you can recover physically, emotionally and financially. If you’re considering making a personal injury claim, don’t hesitate to get in touch with the team at Claims UK.

Get in touch with a legal advisor for free advice and in complete confidence on 0800 234 6438 today.

Frequently asked questions

Making a claim seems like a lot of hassle. Should I just leave it?

While the claims process might seem challenging, it’s important to remember that a no win no fee solicitor will handle everything for you. Once you have the initial meeting and your lawyer gathers all the evidence, you can sit back and wait for an update.

Can I only claim for physical whiplash injuries?

No, you can incorporate any psychological or emotional factors into whiplash claims. A car accident can be a harrowing experience, leaving some people with minor psychological injuries such as anxiety.

If you can prove that you struggled with being in the car after the accident, suffered from anxiety or developed a traumatic stress disorder, you could receive more money.

Why should I use a no win no fee solicitor for my whiplash injury claim?

No win no fee solicitors can help you settle whiplash claims without any financial risks. A private solicitor will charge an upfront fee, and there’s no guarantee you’ll win the case, so many people prefer to protect themselves.

With no upfront legal costs and peace of mind, no win no fee solicitors are the safest choice. Also, these solicitors won’t take on a case unless they’re confident you’ll win.

Can my solicitor tell me how much compensation I’ll receive?

While there are some ways to estimate the compensation you’ll receive, most law firms will tell you that each case is different. For example, someone with whiplash symptoms will receive less than an individual with a severe whiplash injury and a mild psychological injury.

Once your lawyer meets with the negligent party, they can estimate how much money you’ll receive.

How long will the claims process take?

There’s no set time on how long your claim will take because it ultimately depends on numerous factors.

For a start, the insurance company will want to see proof of your injuries. Your lawyer might recommend waiting until the full extent of the common injuries sustained and psychological burdens become clear.

It also depends on how receptive the negligent part is, although these cases usually only go to court in exceptional circumstances.

Other Important Information

*No Win No Fee

  • Although all our cases are handled on a no win no fee basis, other costs could be payable upon solicitors request. These will be fully explained to you before you proceed. Most customers will pay 25% (including VAT) of the compensation they are awarded to their law firm, although this may vary based on individual circumstances. Your solicitor may arrange for insurance to be in place for you to make sure your claim is risk free. Termination fees based on time spent may apply, or in situations such as: lack of cooperation or deliberately misleading our solicitors, or failing to go to any medical or expert examination, or court hearing.
  • *Criminal Injury Claims

  • If you want to make a claim for a criminal injury, you are not required to use the services of a claims management company to pursue the claim. You can submit your claim for free on your own behalf, directly to the Criminal Injury Compensation Authority (England, Wales, and Scotland) or the Criminal Injury Compensation Scheme (Northern Ireland).
About the Author

Nicola Laver LLB

Nicola is a dual qualified journalist and non-practising solicitor. She is a legal journalist, editor and author with more than 20 years' experience writing about the law.

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