Your car bears the visible damage of a car accident. You have neck pain every time you move your head. What more evidence do you need for a whiplash claim? The government have amended the laws around low amount whiplash compensation amounts with a fixed tariff for claims under £5,000 that last no longer than two years. This figure goes above to £10,000 if it includes financial losses. In order to still prove you have significant whiplash, we explain what these new rules mean and how you could still seek damages for your no-fault injuries.
New Whiplash Rules
It was recognised that whiplash claims needed to be reformed. Insurance premiums were increasing year on year causing premiums to escalate. Under legislation brought in by the Civil Liability Act 2018, any road traffic accident (including whiplash) up to the value of £5,000 must be processed in a new way. The reforms include an online portal that aims to simplify the whiplash claims process for people. Medical evidence to prove you have whiplash is now essential.
These new rules will aim to save motorists £35 per year on their premiums. The savings these reforms create could see £1.2 billion being passed on to motorists, but how does this help you? As the victim of a whiplash claim, we look at your right to claim and how an amount can be calculated to reflect the pain and suffering you’ve endured.
Service and Information
- Everything You Need To Know About How To Prove You Have Whiplash
- What Is A Whiplash Injury?
- What Are The Symptoms Of Whiplash?
- Causes Of Whiplash
- Complications Of Whiplash Injuries
- Whiplash Injury Compensation Calculator
- What Is The Role Of Medical Evidence?
- How Could An MRI Scan Prove You Have Whiplash?
- How Causation Can Help To Prove You Have Whiplash
- What Effect Does Richards & Anor v Morris Have On Whiplash Injury Claims?
- How Long Do You Have To Claim For A Whiplash Injury?
- I Suffered A Whiplash Injury, What Should I Do?
- Claim For A Whiplash Injury On A No Win No Fee Basis
- Related Whiplash And Road Accident Claims Guides
- FAQs About Proving You Have Whiplash
British roads are amongst the safest in the world yet road traffic accident claims have risen by 40% since 2006. The Government sought to address the soaring whiplash and road traffic accident claims with the Whiplash Injury Regulations 2021.
Any road traffic-related injury (including whiplash) under the value of £5,000 can now be made through their digital portal meaning claimants can use this to settle their claims and book medical appointments. A time-fixed tariff of awards aims to provide instant guidance on the amounts possible, as shown below:
|Duration of injury||Amount for whiplash||Amount for whiplash and emotional suffering|
|not more than 3 months||£240||£260|
|More than 3 months, but not more than 6 months||£495||£520|
|More than 6 months, but not more than 9 months||£840||£895|
|More than 9 months, but not more than 12 months||£1,320||£1,390|
|More than 12 months, but not more than 15 months||£2,040||£2,125|
|More than 15 months, but not more than 18 months||£3,005||£3,100|
|More than 18 months, but not more than 24 months||£4,215||£4,345|
Certain parties are exempt from these new laws such as motorcyclists or pedestrians and it’s quite possible to suffer whiplash in other ways than road traffic accidents. You can talk to us as the victim of whiplash injuries however they occurred, and our friendly call team will try their best to connect you with our panel of personal injury solicitors.
Whiplash injuries occur when the head or neck is thrown forwards and then backwards with sudden force from a rear-end collision. Or vice versa, from a sudden crash with a reversing vehicle. Whiplash can also happen as the result of being shoved or falling, slipping over or tumbling downstairs. Certain sporting activities could result in it. Any sudden motion that violently snaps the neck back can create whiplash.
The jarring nature of impact like this can dislodge the soft vertebrae from their natural alignment in the neck. Whiplash can cause symptoms from a mild ache that passes after an hour or chronic pain. It’s exactly this wide range of potential injury that makes whiplash claims so speculative. And why a medical assessment is essential to prove you have a solid whiplash case.
The NHS offers much useful advice about whiplash. They explain:
- They explain what whiplash is.
- How to check if you may have whiplash
- Recommended treatment for whiplash
- How and where to seek immediate medical attention
- Where to find a physiotherapist
Whiplash symptoms are generally located in the head, neck, shoulders and upper arms, although it’s important to note that transferred nerve damage can travel to any part of the body and create issues. As you might expect, some symptoms are:
- Neck pain and tenderness
- Sudden onset or prolonged headache
- Muscle spasm
- Shoulder and arm pain
- Difficulty moving head or neck without pain
- Pins and needles (Parasthesia)
- Dizziness and nausea
- Acute stiffness
It’s possible to suffer one or several of the symptoms above and although the new legislation locks compensation into a two-year time frame, it can be possible to suffer the effects of whiplash symptoms for years. If this is the case you would make your road traffic accident for whiplash claim following the old rules.
Although it is possible to suffer whiplash in any accident that lunges the head forwards and then back suddenly, by far the majority of whiplash injuries are caused in road traffic accidents and can involve either the driver or passengers. Erratic and reckless driving, speeding and failure to concentrate on the road in front can all result in a collision that throws another road user forward or backwards, damaging soft tissue.
Seat belts obvious limit the potential for serious harm by securing the bulk of the body, but neck injuries can still occur. In severe cases, the spine and neck muscles can absorb the full impact of the car in front or behind that collides with you. Leading to chronic pain issues.
When it comes to proving you have whiplash, the witness testimony of other road users and the police reports from the accident scene can do much to support your claim. Furthermore, a severe collision may be captured on CCTV which you can request as evidence. Medical evidence is the cornerstone of a successful claim and we look at that in detail below.
It’s impossible to generalise the prognosis for whiplash injury. The subtle differences in neck structure, the velocity of the collision and your position at the time of impact create unique scenarios. Numerous factors can create further complications, such as:
- The age of the individual
- Any pre-existing neck or spinal conditions
- General levels of health and fitness
- The speed at which the collision took place
- Individual pain thresholds
- Limited range of motion
These complications can last for months and in some cases, years. When considering how to prove you have whiplash, it’s sensible to get all your immediate symptoms officially acknowledged by a medical professional. But also gather as much detail about long term prognosis as you can. How the whiplash might affect you in 6 months time is a serious consideration for your future health and wellbeing.
Whilst the JCG and the new tariff system seek to standardise possible compensation amounts, varying factors may have a bearing. If your accident involves being a driver or passenger in a road accident and you are caused a whiplash injury on or after 31st May 2021 you would follow the new reform. This means the tariffs above would apply. If your accident was a road accident before 31st May 2021 or not a road traffic accident where you were a passenger or a driver and you suffered whiplash then you would be awarded amounts that may reflect the Judicial College Guidelines. These JCG figures are used to see what award suggestions are made for different injuries.
|Severe||Incomplete paraplegia||In the region of
|Severe (i)||Serious fractures||£61,710 to
|Severe (ii)||Dislocation and severe tissue damage||£42,680 to
|Moderate (i)||Severe, then improving. Possible spinal fusion surgery||£23,460 to
|Moderate (ii)||Wrenching type tissue damage||£12,900 to
|Moderate (iii)||Injuries that exacerbate||£7,410 to
|Minor (i)||Serious but with scope to heal fully||£4,080 to £7,410|
|Minor (ii)||Where full recovery takes place within 3 months to a year||£2,300 to £4,080|
|Minor(iii)||Full recovery within 3 months||Up to £2,300|
These amounts are based on previous awards. They seek to keep compensation consistent and fair for matters which are hard to assess for each individual. Things like pain and suffering, damage to relationships, loss of amenity in life and ongoing health issues in the future like the risk of osteoarthritis or need for physiotherapy.
Proving a whiplash claim now requires mandatory medical evidence. 550,000 claims for road traffic accident were made in 2019/20. The presence of definitive medical evidence aims to reduce this.
Your medical evidence provides a personal injury lawyer, if you decide to use one with the evidence to seek the right amount possible on your behalf. Our friendly team can explain any questions you may have about arranging a medical assessment.
Vertebrae and disc or nerve damage can be read much more clearly by CT and MRI imaging techniques, often providing a definitive assessment of the extent of bone and tissue damage. MRI scans and other imaging modalities can be used to see the extend of vertebrae damage or misalignment. X-Rays can be taken to rule out severe damage such as a fracture. Seeing right into the heart of the injury.
Most patients would only undergo this procedure if their symptoms were long term. MRI images bone and can provide good soft tissue differentiation, but its use for whiplash damage assessment remains controversial.
Each assessment will vary. When you decide to launch a personal injury claim, a lawyer can help arrange a medical assessment for you and they will give advice as to the best supporting evidence you can obtain. Speak to our team now for further guidance.
Whose fault was the accident? Causation is a vital part of a personal injury claim. Often it can be difficult to ascribe blame clearly in road traffic accidents. Split liability is a concept that accepts that usually, more than one party is to blame for the crash and resultant injuries. In order to get your claim for compensation off on the right foot, it’s essential to be clear about whose fault the accident was. Therefore the following can help:
- Collect witness details
- Obtain an admission from the liable third party if possible
- Use the police and emergency services reports
- Take pictures (on your phone) of what caused the whiplash, the car or the obstacle. Perhaps the surface you slipped badly on.
- Get medical treatment
- If the accident happened at work, make sure it’s recorded
- Report your injury to the person in charge if your accidents happened in a supermarket or public place.
Any evidence you can collect together can strengthen your claim. Don’t forget, in whiplash cases the onus is on you to prove your claim. Many whiplash cases usually correct themselves in under 3 months, so if you are aiming for a higher amount of compensation you will need medical evidence to support this, as well as proof of how it happened.
In the case of Richards & Anor v Morris, a decision was in after an appeal was made that the claimants did not prove their case and that the defendant presented an answerable case. Two claimants had both been awarded £2,500 on the basis of their testimony. A discrepancy in the story they gave relating to required physiotherapy and force of impact discredited their whiplash claim sufficiently for it to be overturned.
It makes credible medical evidence even more important and should urge those asking how do you prove you have whiplash to be detailed and thorough in their argument.
There is a personal injury claim time limit of 3 years. This can be from the date you suffered the accident or from the date you became aware that your injury was suffered because of negligence. There are exceptions to this rule. So please call our advisors for clarification.
Also, you can act on behalf of a minor or someone with diminished responsibility if they were harmed. ‘Litigation friends’ as they are known can seek damages on behalf of others injured.
At work, in public or on the roads, others have a duty of care to our safety, as we do to them. Rules of the road seek to ensure that care is taken when driving to avoid causing whiplash and other road traffic accidents in the first place. You can read in detail the expectations for motorists under the Highway Code here. If you suffered whiplash because of the erratic actions of another road user and were left with much more than just a pain in the neck, we can help.
At Advice.co.uk we can discuss your case in a brief, informal chat with our call team. In a matter of minutes, we can advise you on your eligibility for compensation and connect you with a No Win No Fee personal injury solicitor. The free legal advice they offer can help you establish if you have a valid claim.
Anything that you can prove has been an expense to you because of the injuries could be something your defendant has to reimburse you. Pain and suffering, lost wages and physiotherapy costs could all be included. When you can prove whiplash injury, the compensation you receive could take care of all the unforeseen expenses and losses you’ve suffered because of their negligence.
With this in mind, connecting with a No Win No Fee lawyer can still help. The legal complexities and jargon can be off-putting for many. Personal injury claims for road traffic accidents can be complex and drawn out. It might be a better option for you to seek legal help. No Win No Fee solicitors do not charge any fees upfront:
- Firstly, by needing no upfront fees from them to hire the solicitor
- With no fees to pay as the case proceeds
- Nothing at all to pay your solicitor if the case fails
- Furthermore, a fee is only deducted from cases that win
- The amount deducted is capped by law to ensure you receive as much compensation for your whiplash injuries as possible
- In addition, No Win No Fee solicitors take a percentage from only successful cases. So obviously, it’s in their best interests to give your case their full attention.
No Win No Fee solicitors tend to be very frank about the chances of success for your case. Working with an arrangement like this means that unless there is a good chance of winning, their time will have been for nothing. So it’s important to discuss how viable your claim is initially.
To sum up, thank you for reading our guide on how to prove you have whiplash. Speak to our team and see how we could help calculate your compensation fully based on all the evidence you can share.
At Advice.co.uk we offer help with all manner of personal injury claims. Also, accidents in the workplace are an area of expertise, as are negligence road traffic accidents. Perhaps you were hurt in a public place by a failure on the part of those responsible? We can help here also.
Furthermore, we can offer links to help and advice on living with neck injury, how to use the services of the NHS to its best advantage and more information on road safety statistics.
In addition to the topics discussed, below are frequently asked questions that may cover any other points. You can call us to discuss anything to help prove you have whiplash.
Will I have a local solicitor?
It’s important to note that you do not need to use a local law firm. Online communications have transformed people’s options. Matters relating to your case could be handled remotely.
Do claims go to court?
Whereas some cases need to go to court, whiplash claims can often be settled between the parties involved.
Is whiplash dangerous?
It’s vital to get it properly checked out by a doctor. It can lead to prolonged health problems too if not properly addressed. It can also be a nuisance to live with without proper attention, causing persistent headaches and neck pain. So, get your injuries looked at as soon as possible.
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Published by AL.