If you’ve suffered a whiplash injury in a car accident that wasn’t your fault, then you could be legally entitled to claim compensation for your pain and inconvenience.
We are experts in settling whiplash compensation claims, and with almost 300 years in combined legal experience, our solicitors are highly skilled in recovering the best possible payouts for whiplash and other injuries.
We are committed to providing access to justice for injured people, and offer our legal services with a no-win-no-fee guarantee.
There are many questions around claiming for whiplash. This guide will help inform you of your rights and the options you have to make a claim. Click on one of the sections below to start.
Whiplash is a soft tissue injury caused by the sudden movement of the head and neck. Likened to the cracking of a whip, the rapid movement of the head and neck forwards and backward or sideways causes the tissues in the neck to become stretched and damaged.
This type of injury is very common in road traffic accidents and can occur irrespective of the speed of the impact.
When whiplash occurs, the force of the impact can be felt most in the head and neck as they are thrown forwards or back while your body remains in position because of your seatbelt. Injuries can be more severe if your head is turned at the time of the collision, or if you’re not expecting it.
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Whiplash injuries do not always show instantly. It is common for symptoms to develop between 6 and 12 hours after the crash, while some can appear days after, and get progressively worse.
It’s important to monitor your health over this time and seek medical advice such as visiting your GP if you suffer any of these typical whiplash symptoms:
- Neck pain (including difficulty in moving up, down, and side to side.)
- Upper and lower back pain.
- Discomfort or pain in shoulders and arms.
- Headaches and/or blurred vision.
- Dizziness, nausea, fatigue, or loss of balance.
- Swelling and inflammation.
- Difficulty sleeping.
- Psychological symptoms.
You may be able to claim if the accident was not your fault and the level of injury you have suffered is severe enough to make a claim.
It’s unlikely you will be able to claim if the pain lasts only a few days and can be treated effectively with painkillers.
However, if any of the symptoms last for longer, and physiotherapy may be required, then you should contact us to discuss your accident in more detail.
There is a time limit of up to three years since the date of the accident to make a claim. The only exception is if you’re claiming on behalf of a child. Children have up to three years from the date they turn 18 to claim.
Laws Around Claiming For Whiplash May Be Changing
As part of the Civil Liabilities Act, the Government intends to introduce a number of changes to how whiplash claims are handled. These changes have been delayed, but may come into practice by April 2020.
Under the new system, changes may include
- A ban on claims without medical evidence.
- The small claims limit being raised from £1,000 to £5,000.
- A fixed compensation amount being introduced, ranging from £225 to £3,725 depending on the length of time you'll take to recover from your injuries.
The rise of ‘fake’ whiplash claims has seen a higher level of scrutiny placed on cases. However, if you have genuine injuries and sufficient evidence to prove how they were caused, you have a legal right to claim compensation.
A typical claim process can be broken down into several stages.
Stage 1 – Evidence At The Scene
It’s essential to gather as much information as possible while at the scene of the accident. The bare minimum would be to collect the contact and insurance details of anyone involved in the crash.
Additionally, you should ask for contact details of any witnesses and to call the police as they will create a case reference number and provide official documentation of the accident.
Further evidence such as photos or video, or dashcam footage is also beneficial when building your case.
You should contact your insurance company within hours of the accident to notify them that you’ve been involved in an accident, even if it wasn’t your fault.
Stage 2 – Medical Attention
You should seek medical help for your injuries. Depending on the level of injury, this could mean making an appointment with your GP or going to A&E at your local hospital. Apart from the fact that they’ll help you to manage your injuries better, they will also document them.
Don’t worry if you haven’t sought medical help yet; we can arrange for you to be medically examined as part of the claim process. Additionally, where applicable, we can provide instant access to private physiotherapy to get you on the mend.
Stage 3 – Legal Advice
It is important to seek legal advice at the earliest opportunity and especially before entering into any conversation with an insurance company.
We recommend you speak to a legal advisor before accepting an offer from an insurance company as these offers may be far lower than what you may be legally entitled to.
Once you’ve contacted our legal team, we’ll usually be able to advise you if you have an opportunity to claim within a couple of minutes.
Should you decide to claim with us, the legal process will then be split into three steps.
We’ll ask you for information that you may already have from the scene of the crash. This would include such things as the contact details of the other parties, Police reports, witness statements, and photographic and video evidence. We’ll then be able to determine who was responsible for the accident. The more information you can provide, the quicker and easier it is for us to compile a case against the third party. This usually means that the process is shorter and you’ll receive your compensation sooner.
2. Medical Examination
Even if you have been to a GP or attended A&E, it may be necessary for us to arrange a further independent medical assessment to discover the level of your injuries.
A follow-up assessment is sometimes necessary to see if your symptoms have progressed and to assess accurately the level of compensation you may be entitled to.
3. Legal Representation
Using your evidence and medical reports, our solicitors will build the best possible case for compensation to present to the third party’s insurance company.
A claim for your injuries and any financial losses will be presented to the third party. Negotiation will take place until the claim is settled.
We will use all our experience and industry knowledge to negotiate the maximum compensation for you.
Settlement – Compensation Is Paid
Once we’ve received an offer from the third party insurers, we’ll talk to you about whether or not you should accept it or if we should continue the claim.
Once an offer is accepted and we’ve received the money from the insurers, we’ll send you a cheque immediately for the compensation amount.
Our legal services are offered on a No Win No Fee basis. This means you won’t pay a penny if we’re unsuccessful with your claim.
Each claim is unique due to their individual circumstances. It is, therefore, difficult to provide an accurate expected length of time for a case to be completed.
Usually, more complex claims will take longer than more straightforward ones.
For example, claims may conclude earlier when the other side admits fault than claims when they do not.
If your injuries are more serious, it may take for the full extent of your injuries to become known.
In these instances, we may need to wait for a medical expert to confirm your prognosis before we accept any offer.
Our legal team will be able to advise you on the expected length of your case.
What Is The Average Compensation Amount For Whiplash?
On average, whiplash payout amounts are in the region of £2,150 to £3,810 for minor injuries but can increase up to as much as £21,910 depending on how serious your injuries are. The amount of compensation awarded can increase further whiplash is accompanied by other injuries.
The value of your claim is dependent on several factors. These include the severity of your injuries, and how long it may take for you to recover. Additionally, the treatment you may require and how your injuries may have affected your life is considered.
The total amount of compensation you can claim for whiplash is broken down into two areas;
First, the amount of compensation that may be paid out is for your injuries, known as General Damages.
Second, the amount of compensation that may be paid out is for your out of pocket expenses, known as Special Damages.
The amounts listed below are based on average settlement figures awarded by Judges at Trial. The figures are accurate as of March 2020.
Calculate how much you could claim
Injuries may include
Please be aware that compensation amounts vary on a case by case basis. These figures are intended only as a guide towards what your claim may be worth.
As part of claiming with Bott and Co, you will undergo an independent medical assessment. It is following this assessment, that we will know an accurate amount of compensation we may be able to claim for you.
These figures do not take into account any out of pocket expenses you may also be able to claim, or any fees a solicitor may deduct for their legal services.
A free claim consultation with one of our team is the quickest way to know how much you may be able to claim.
Most consultations take no more than 5 to 10 minutes. Our team is available through phone or web chat, or you can complete our online form to schedule a time that suits you.
Can You Claim For Whiplash If The Accident Was Your Fault?
Every car accident is unique and there usually are a combination of factors that contribute to an accident. Your right to claim depends on these circumstances.
It may be that you were not at fault, partly at fault or at fault. In all instances, you still may be able to claim. Even if you think you may be at fault, that may not be the case legally. Contact our team to discuss your case.
In circumstances where you are partly responsible, you may be able to claim under what is called a split liability agreement. This would mean if you were 50% responsible for the accident, you would receive 50% less compensation.
Find Out If You Can Claim
Our experienced legal team are usually able to advise you if you can claim on your initial call, which will take no longer than 5 to 10 minutes.SPEAK TO OUR LEGAL TEAM