By Lewis Lennon. Last Updated 11th August 2023. If you’ve recently been involved in a road traffic accident when you weren’t in control of a vehicle, you might be wondering how to claim for whiplash as a passenger. The rules regarding certain vehicle accident personal injury claims have changed due to legislation introduced in 2021. This guide will walk you through information about claims involving whiplash.
Read on to learn more about how whiplash occurs, who you can make a personal injury claim against, and information about how the Whiplash Reform Programme might affect your claim. Alternatively, you can get in touch with Advice.co.uk using the following details:
Select A Section
- How To Claim For Whiplash As A Passenger In A Car Accident
- What Are Whiplash Injuries?
- Do You Have To Be Hit Hard To Get Whiplash?
- Can You Claim Against The Driver Of Your Vehicle?
- Personal Injury Accident Claim Payouts
- Check How To Claim For Whiplash As A Passenger
Someone involved in an accident might find themselves asking questions like ‘can I claim whiplash as a passenger?’ The straightforward answer is that yes, passengers can make claims if they were injured in a road traffic accident that wasn’t their fault.
It should be noted that in order to make a personal injury claim, three criteria must apply to your circumstances:
- Someone owed you a duty of care.
- The duty of care you were owed was breached.
- An accident occurred because of this breach, in which you were injured.
Road users should reduce risks to themselves and others. They must adhere to the rules of the Road Traffic Act 1988, which establishes the duty of care owed on the road. Additionally, they should follow the guidelines and rules laid out in the Highway Code, which contains information relating to good road conduct. Some of the Highway Code are backed up by law.
As the passenger of a vehicle, you are owed a duty of care by other road users, and if you’ve experienced whiplash in an accident, you may have a valid whiplash claim for the pain and suffering you’ve experienced. Read on to learn more about how to claim for whiplash as a passenger.
Road Accident Injury Statistics
Provisional statistics reported by the Department for Transport show that an estimated 127,967 casualties of all severities occurred in 2021. We’ve included a graph below to show how many of these casualties were killed, seriously injured, or slightly injured while using the road.
The NHS states that whiplash can be caused by ‘ a sudden movement of the head.’ This kind of movement could occur during a traffic accident.
Whiplash is generally an injury to the neck, though it can involve the shoulder, arms and head. Common whiplash symptoms include:
- Neck pain
- Stiffness when trying to bend your neck or turn your head
- Pain and muscle spasms extending into the shoulders and arms
If you’ve recently sustained a neck injury or shoulder injury in a car accident, it is important that you seek medical care to find out the extent of the damage. Not only is it important that your injuries are treated, but medical documentation may be required to prove you have whiplash. It can therefore be useful when approaching how to claim for whiplash as a passenger.
The extent of a whiplash injury may vary depending on the speed at which the car accident occurred, and you may suffer whiplash in an accident that didn’t involve a particularly hard hit.
Accidents in which whiplash could occur include:
- When a stationary vehicle is hit by another vehicle
- When one vehicle is hit from behind by another vehicle
- A motorcyclist being shunted from behind
This list is by no means exhaustive. Whiplash can result from many different accidents. Why not call our advisor to have your whiplash as a passenger accident claim assessed for free today?
As previously stated, all road users owe each other duty of care, and it is, therefore, possible for any road user to be found negligent. According to the Highway Code, the duty of care weighs most heavily upon those most likely to cause harm. Pedestrians are thought to be the least likely to cause harm, while those driving vehicles are considered more likely.
When considering how to claim whiplash as a passenger, it may be possible to:
- Make a claim against the driver of the vehicle you were in
- Claim against another road user involved in the accident
- Seek compensation from the party responsible for maintaining the road, who subsequently failed to do so
If a personal injury claim is successful, damages will be paid from the insurance provider of the party found liable. If the liable party is untraceable, claims may instead be made to the Motor Insurers’ Bureau.
As the passenger in a vehicle involved in a road traffic accident, you may be able to claim compensation against the driver of your vehicle if they were negligent.
How Long Does A Passenger Have To Claim For Whiplash?
When discussing how to claim for whiplash as a passenger, it’s worth noting that you will need to take action within the correct limitation period. This is the timeframe you have to begin your claim for whiplash. As outlined in the Limitation Act 1980, you usually have three years from when you were injured to bring forward your claim.
In car accident claims for whiplash caused to a child, the three-year time limit is suspended until their 18th birthday. From this date, they will have until their 21st birthday to begin a claim. Alternatively, a litigation friend could act on their behalf before they turn 18.
If an adult lacks the mental capacity to make their own claim, the time limit is permanently frozen. It would only be reinstated if the claimant regained the mental capacity required to make their own claim. However, a litigation friend can make a claim on their behalf while the time limit is frozen.
For free advice regarding road traffic accident whiplash claims, contact our advisors at whatever time is most suitable for you using the live chat widget on your screen.
When figuring out how to claim for whiplash as a passenger, it is important to understand how compensation could be awarded. Generally, it is awarded in two heads of claim: general damages and special damages.
Below we have included a table that looks specifically at general damages and how the injury reflects what is awarded. General damages is compensation for the suffering caused by the injury.
The New Whiplash Injury Claim Tariff
In May 2021, the law changed on how claimants who suffer whiplash or soft tissue injury to the neck area could claim compensation. So passengers and drivers inside a vehicle over the age of 18 who suffer whiplash injuries valued at no more than £5,000 would make their claim through the Official Injury Claim portal. This would be done using a set tariff system.
The Whiplash Injury Regulations 2021 specifies the amount of compensation that can be awarded for successful whiplash claims. These compensation brackets are usually based on the duration of the injury, though exceptionally severe injuries/circumstances may affect the amount of compensation awarded.
|Amount of Time Injured
|Whiplash injury or injuries
|Whiplash injury or injuries and minor psychological injuries
|3 months or less
|3 months+ not more than 6
|6 months+ not more than 9
|9 months+, not more than 12
|12 months+ not more than 15
|15 months+ not more than 18.
|18 months + not more than 24
However, if your injury is not a whiplash or soft tissue injury, then the table below might be useful. In valuing general damages, a car accident lawyer can use the Judicial College Guidelines. These guidelines list compensation brackets for injuries of differing severities, some examples of which are included in the table below.
|£324,600 – £403,990
|Compensation depends on level of pain and/or ability to communicate
|Very Severe Brain Damage (a)
|£282,010 – £403,990
|Little or no response to stimuli; need for full-time nursing care
|Total or Effective Loss of Both Hands (a)
|£140,660 – £201,490
|Hands rendered almost useless; may or may not be possible to install a prosthetic
|Total or Effective Loss of One Hand (c)
|£96,160 – £109,650
|One hand requiring surgical amputation or all finger and most of palm traumatically amputated
|Chest Injuries (a)
|£100,670 – £150,110
|Removal of one lung or significant heart damage
|Severe Leg Injuries (b) (i)
|£96,250 – £135,920
|Very serious leg injuries just short of requiring amputation
|Other Arm Injuries (a)
|£96,160 – £130,930
|Severe injury just short of requiring amputation
|Other Arm Injuries (b)
|£39,170 – £59,860
|Substantial and permanent disability.
|Chest Injuries (b)
|£65,740 – £100,670
|Severe injuries involving permanent damage and reduction of life expectancy
|Digestive System (a) (i)
|£43,010 – £61,910
|Extreme damage with ongoing pain
Special damages may be paid out in addition to general damages. Special damages is compensation for putting you back in the financial position you were in before the incident.
- Wage loss can be past as well as future
- Travel expenses incurred getting to and from medical appointments.
You could look at a personal injury calculator to get an idea of how much your injury may be worth. However, because other factors could influence your claim, we’d suggest getting in touch with Advice.co.uk for an accurate estimate of the compensation payout you could be due.
If you were in a vehicle accident and are wondering how to claim, you may wish to hire legal representation. It’s possible that you’re worried about the cost of doing so, in which case you may appreciate the option of a No Win No Fee Agreement.
A Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA) may be used as the contract you sign with a No Win No Fee solicitor. Generally, when you sign this agreement, it will mean that your solicitor will not ask you to pay an upfront fee. However, if your claim is successful as per the CFA, they will be entitled to a portion of the compensation, which is capped by law. Should the claim be unsuccessful, there is nothing to pay the solicitor for their service.
If you have any questions such as ‘Can pre-existing injuries affect a whiplash claim?’, or for more information regarding how to claim whiplash as a passenger and to find out if a personal injury solicitor could help with your potential claim, get in touch with Advice.co.uk using the following details:
Related Whiplash Injury Claim Guides
We hope these guides will be of use to you:
Here are some external links that could be helpful to you:
Reporting Road Traffic Accidents – Some information on how and when to report road traffic accidents
Road Safety – A government website about road safety
It’s our hope that this guide on how to claim for whiplash as a passenger has provided you with useful information. If you have more questions, don’t hesitate to contact us using the details above