Whiplash Injury Claims
Whiplash Injury Claims Guide
Our whiplash injury claims guide covers the common questions asked by whiplash injury victims when seeking information about recovering compensation for their injuries.
As long as your whiplash injuries have been sustained in an accident which was at least partly caused by third party negligence, and the injuries were severe enough to warrant medical attention, you should be eligible to claim compensation. Any whiplash injury claims must establish that there has been negligence and that it can be proven "on the balance of probabilities" that this negligence was the cause of the accident and your injuries. If this is possible, a whiplash injury compensation claim can be made.
Gathering Evidence in Whiplash Injury Claims
Whiplash injury claims are the same as any personal injury claim, and it is up to the claimant to prove that there has been negligence, and that the negligence was the cause of the injuries. Proof of the injuries comes from your medical report, which is why it is essential that medical advice is sought after the accident. When proving negligence, the more information submitted to support whiplash injury claims, the greater the chances are of success.
Whenever possible you should record details of how the accident took place, make a sketch of the scene of the accident, or even take photographs. This will help to demonstrate why and how the accident occurred. Obtaining witness details before leaving the scene of the accident can be invaluable in proving negligence in whiplash injury claims. These details may be recorded by the police, but it is best not to assume that this will be done.
Whiplash Injury Claims Against Uninsured Drivers
Underage, unlicensed and uninsured drivers have no insurance policy against which to make whiplash injury claims. In such cases, while criminal action is taken by the police, whiplash injury claims can still be made against the Motor Insurer's Bureau (MIB). In these situations, while no insurance may be a criminal matter, whiplash injury claims can only be made if there has been third party negligence - i.e. being involved in an accident with an uninsured driver cannot be the sole basis for any whiplash injury claims.
Whiplash Injury Claims Values in the UK
The compensation awarded for whiplash injury claims in the UK can vary considerably. The claim value may be as low as a few hundred pounds or can rise to several tens of thousands of pounds; or even more in the most serious cases involving permanent disability.
Recovery from mild whiplash can take up to a month, with moderate to severe cases lasting for 6 months or longer. When calculating whiplash injury claims values, UK solicitors will assess the severity of the injuries, loss of earnings, and the loss of amenity during recovery and will assign a value to the pain and suffering caused by the injury.
All whiplash injury claims for compensation are made and awarded in two different categories. Special damages cover the expenses and financial losses associated with the injury, and general damages in whiplash injury claims are concerned with compensating for pain, suffering and temporary or permanent loss of function.
Whiplash Injury Claims and Personal Negligence
In any road traffic accident there may me more than one driver who was at fault. In some cases, the local authority may be implicated for failing to maintain a safe road surface. It is common for more than one third party to be at fault, and the contributory negligence of each would see both parties liable to pay damages.
In many cases the whiplash victim could also be deemed to have contributed to their injuries, such as by not wearing a seatbelt or failing to seek immediate medical care. In these cases, the defence may claim contributory negligence of the claimant with their actions or inactions adding to the severity of the injuries. In car accident whiplash injury claims, personal negligence is more common, and any compensation payment will be reduced according to how much the claimant was deemed to be responsible for the severity of their own injuries.
Quick Settlements and Third Party Capture by Insurance Companies
There were over 430,000 whiplash injury claims in the UK in 2007 according to The Association of British Insurers (ABI), which is 1,200 claims made for every day of the year. This has been estimated to cost insurers approximately 2 billion pounds each year, which amounts to £66 for every car insurance policy sold. When these claims are pursued legally, the insurer will be liable to pay the claimant´s legal costs in addition to those of their client if the defendant (their client) is found to be negligent.
When legal representation is sought from a whiplash injury solicitor, the level of compensation is usually substantially increased and the insurer will be liable for the claimant´s legal costs. As such, insurance companies frequently attempt to limit their liabilities, and may contact a whiplash victim directly with an offer of settlement before legal representation is sought, or even before the decision to claim is made.
Such direct approaches offering compensation have high potential to be under settled, and no offer of compensation should be accepted without first seeking independent legal advice. Some insurers will encourage victims not to seek legal advice, and they may offer to help a victim get their full entitlement to compensation. This is a tactic used to increase the insurer's profits and cut back on losses, and rarely results in the full entitlement to compensation being awarded. You should always consult a whiplash injury solicitor for advice before accepting any offer of compensation, even if you have no wish to pursue a whiplash injury claim.
Whiplash Injury Claims and the UK Statute of Limitations
Whiplash injury claims in the UK must be initiated within a specific time frame. The UK statute of limitations places a 3 year time limit on initiating a claim for compensation, which starts from the date the injury is diagnosed. The age of the victim and the circumstances leading to the injury can affect the time period for making whiplash injury claims, so it is advisable to seek legal advice as soon as possible after the accident. Whiplash injury claims which are attempted outside this period will require approval from a judge, and extensions to the statute of limitations is rarely granted.
Choosing A Whiplash Injury Claims Solicitor
In many whiplash injury compensation claims an insurer may recommend that you use a specific solicitor. This is undoubtedly in the insurers best interests, and may not mean you will get a solicitor with sufficient experience in whiplash injury claims. If this is recommended - or even mandatory - you should still seek independent legal advice. Choosing a personal injury solicitor with experience in whiplash injury claims in the UK can greatly increase the chances of success, and can significantly increase the amount of compensation awarded.
Have you Suffered a Whiplash Injury?
If you have suffered a whiplash injury in an accident which was not entirely your fault, you should seek legal advice as soon as possible after attending to your injuries. Speaking with a specialist whiplash injury claims solicitor will enable you to determine your eligibility to claim compensation, and whether it is worth your while to pursue a legal claim.
At Whiplash Compensation UK we offer a free consultation with an experienced whiplash injury solicitor to answer any questions you may have about the claims process, and to give you practical and impartial advice on what you should do next. All enquiries are treated in the strictest confidence, and you are under no obligation to proceed with a claim with us.