Whiplash is one of the most common injuries people experience when involved in a car accident, caused by damage to the neck due to the sudden impact and stop. The term refers to the neck’s unnaturally fast movement forward and back, like the crack of a whip, which can result in tissue and muscle damage. The usual after-effect is a prolonged period of pain and stiffness in the neck, with many people finding it difficult to move or stretch. Whiplash injuries are seen in large amounts of insurance claims for those involved in car accidents, with many gaining settlements for their injuries. While there has been some debate regarding the sheer volume of whiplash reports from insurance companies, highlighting potentially fraudulent claims, large amounts of people do suffer regularly from the condition and receive appropriate compensation for their injuries.
While some insurers do on occasion offer a settlement without a GP or medical confirmation of whiplash injuries, known as a pre-med offer, in the majority of cases a qualified diagnosis is extremely helpful to both the claim and the injured person. The doctor’s confirmation reduces the ability of the insurer to claim the case is fraudulent, increasing the likelihood of success and the simplicity of the case as a whole. It is also important for the injured party to have an accurate understanding of their injuries. While whiplash is a relatively minor injury that often heals without serious complications, a doctor can advise in the case of more robust problems that may require additional treatment. Finally, the doctor’s report can provide key information for the case, confirming elements of the accident that may otherwise be debated.
Whiplash refers to a sprain of the neck, similar in style to an ankle sprain. The muscles and ligaments are damaged or torn, requiring a period of recuperation, and the effects can become apparent after a number of days. Common symptoms include pain in the neck, reduced ability to move the neck and head, headaches and sore muscles around the neck. Some whiplash victims may also experience pains along the back or arms, dizziness, reduced energy, problems regarding concentrating, memory issues and irritability. Whiplash victims are advised to try and maintain gentle mobility of the neck, use general painkillers as required and ensure adequate support of the neck and head during periods of sleep and work.
If you believe you may have suffered whiplash injuries during an accident that wasn’t your fault, a doctor’s report can be used as evidence by a law firm to claim additional compensation. Beyond any insurance payouts for damage to vehicles, injured individuals may be entitled to General Damages (compensation for a medical injury) or Special Damages (compensation for expenses such as loss of earnings, travel or medical costs). The limits for General Damages compensation are defined by the Judicial Studies Board, with a law firm attempting to gain the amount appropriate to a case. These are currently set at between £875 and £5,150 for minor neck injuries, £5,150 and £16,400 for moderate neck injuries and £16,400 to £97,400 for severe neck injuries that cause long term symptoms.