Whiplash can be a painful injury that you might get if you’re in a car accident. It’s something nobody wants to go through, and something that can have a big impact on your life.
This guide will go through what whiplash is, how long it might last, how to treat it, and, finally, how to claim for it after an accident.
What Is Whiplash?
According to the NHS, whiplash is a neck injury that is caused by a sudden movement of the head. It is caused by the sudden jolt or stretching of the neck that hurts the ligaments.
Whiplash is the most common injury in car accidents. Almost half of all car accidents in England result in a whiplash injury. It’s a common injury for drivers or passengers who are involved in a rear-end shunt and doesn’t take much force to cause damage.
Most whiplash injuries happen in low-speed collisions. As little as five to ten miles per hour is enough to cause whiplash. If you’re not wearing your seatbelt or your headrests aren’t positioned properly, your injuries could be much worse.
People who are older or people who already have neck conditions like arthritis are all more prone to whiplash. This is because muscles and ligaments lose flexibility and strength with age which makes them much more vulnerable.
Symptoms Of Whiplash
If you’re concerned that you may have a whiplash injury, you might be asking, what does whiplash feel like? The most common symptoms are:
- Neck pain
- Neck stiffness and difficulty moving your head
- Pain and muscle spasms in the shoulders and arms
Most people might think whiplash is a minor injury, but in some cases, it can have uncomfortable, long-lasting effects on your life. Additionally, in rare and severe cases, the symptoms and damage can be permanent.
How Long Does Whiplash Last?
Whiplash might take a few hours to start showing symptoms after you’ve injured your neck.
However, it should get better within two or three months.
How To Treat Whiplash
Luckily, whiplash treatment is something you can do on your own.
The NHS also recommends that you should:
- Take painkillers (paracetamol and ibuprofen) to help with the pain
- Try to continue your everyday activities. It’s normal that it might hurt a little, but being on your feet will speed up your recovery.
In some cases, your GP might:
- Prescribe a stronger painkiller such as codeine
- Refer you to a physiotherapist
- Reccomend you see a pain specialist
- Refer you for psychological support
Things you shouldn’t do:
- Use things such as a neck brace or collar. It might make sense to try to support your neck, but it’s proven these don’t help.
- Don’t rest your neck for long periods of time. You need to keep it moving to keep your recovery moving along.
If you find that your symptoms aren’t improving after a few weeks, then you should contact your GP.
How To Claim For Whiplash After A Car Accident
More than 1,500 whiplash injury compensation claims are made in the UK every day. That’s almost 550,000 each year.
If your injury was the fault of somebody else (either partially or fully) or if it happened within the last three years, you could claim compensation.
You can also make a claim for whiplash at any time on behalf of a child who was under the age of 18 when the car accident happened.
Compensation can help relieve the financial stress that you might experience if you decide to take time off work to help you heal. It can also help pay for private physiotherapy if you feel like you need it.
Making Your Claim
To start making your claim, you’ll have to provide the insurance company with evidence. This evidence needs to be of both the accident and the injuries you’ve sustained.
This could be:
- Exchanging insurance details with the other driver
- Taking photographs of the accident at the scene
- Seeing a doctor who can examine you and then write an injury report
Your claim can add an average of £90 to your car insurance premiums, but if your claim is recorded as a non-fault claim it shouldn’t impact your no-claims bonus.
You should also be aware that your claim can be refused if you don’t have enough proof or if the accident turns out to be your fault. It can also be refused if your insurer believes you staged the accident or exaggerated how badly you were hurt.
How Much Can Be Claimed For Whiplash?
If you’re about to make a claim, you might be wondering what is the average settlement payout for whiplash injury?
The amount of money you can claim in whiplash compensation depends on the extent of your injuries. If your way of life has been impacted then you’re more likely to get a bigger payout.
Most claims end up being between £1,500 and £3,000. This is usually for minor symptoms, but permanent damage can lead to payouts of up to £100,000.
Our Final Thoughts
Whiplash is an injury that usually is a minor inconvenience. However, whether your injuries are minor or major, you should look into getting a claim. The extra money means you can have time off work to heal, or to help pay for private physiotherapy if you feel like you need it.
To set the legal wheel in motion, you must reach out to a solicitor, who will talk you through the process of making a claim and assess your case.
We hope that you found this article helpful. Whilst you’re here, why not check out our blog for some more articles such as What Is Car Depreciation & How Can You Avoid It? and How To Protect Yourself From Attracting Car Thieves.
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