How much can I claim for whiplash?

Whiplash is a well used term when someone has suffered injury following an accident but what is it and how much can you claim? Emma Dodgin, MWR’s claim team advisor explains.

Whiplash describes a range of soft tissue injuries to the neck, shoulders and back sustained after a sudden distortion of the muscles and ligaments in these areas.

What are the symptoms of whiplash?
Symptoms can include general pain, stiffness, discomfort, headaches and sometimes dizziness. In more severe cases, symptoms can also include memory loss, lack of concentration, tinnitus and pins and needles.

If you have any of these symptoms MWR recommends you visit your GP. If you are clear in what you tell your GP about the onset of symptoms they will suggest the best treatment for you.  It is important to visit your GP to be medically assessed as when making a claim to recover compensation, an independent expert will often consider your GP records to determine whether or not there is a causative link between your injuries and any accident in which you have been involved.  Only if there is a causative link can you recover compensation.

Will the level of my symptoms impact my claim?
The type of symptoms you encounter can influence the level of compensation you receive. Symptoms can be short-lived but some claimants are left with permanent, intrusive symptoms that affect every part of their day to day living.

Factors taken into consideration when assessing the value of the claim are;
•    Whether or not the claimant has had to take time off work.
•    Whether or not the claimant has returned to their pre-accident employment and suffered an exacerbation of symptoms because of work tasks.
•    The need for care and assistance while incapacitated such as carrying out household chores, personal hygiene, childcare etc.
•    The ability of the claimant to continue with their usual recreational activities and hobbies.
•    Whether or not the claimant had a pre-existing condition which may either have been aggravated or activated by the accident.

How much am I likely to get for my claim?
For a minor neck injury where a full recovery is made within six weeks to six months, a person might expect to recover between £1,000 and £1,750.

Where a full recovery is made within two years, awards can reach in the region of £5000, subject to the impact on the claimant’s abilities to cope with day to day living during that period.
Where pain is suffered in more than one area, perhaps the neck, shoulders and lower back and the recovery is still incomplete, awards may reach £8,750.

A minority of claimants can be left severely debilitated with intrusive permanent symptoms.  For these claimants, awards can reach a maximum of £15,000.

The brackets are varied and detailed evidence is required to ensure the right amount of compensation is recovered. Some insurance companies make settlement offers without sight of medical evidence, they try to tempt Claimants to settle their claim and often save thousands by preying on Claimants who are struggling financially.

It is impossible to accurately value a claim without a medical report and therefore it is very important to get independent legal advice.  We can often secure interim payments for those struggling due to their injuries so don’t settle for what may be on offer; insist on getting independent legal advice before agreeing to any compensation settlement.

What do I do if I think I have suffered whiplash following an accident?
•    Visit your GP for a full assessment.
•    Don’t get dragged into flashy insurance company promotions which do not require medical reports.
•    Seek expert legal advice from trusted lawyers.

For further enquiries, please contact our claims team by calling 01772 254201 or send an email to advice@mwrlaw.com

We are here to help.