Whiplash is an injury to the soft tissue in the neck and is a common injury caused by road traffic accidents, such as motorbike accidents and car accidents. In fact, it is estimated that around 20% of car accident victims suffer with whiplash.
Whiplash injury occurs when the accident has caused the neck to be jolted or jerked violently one way and then rapidly the other way. If a vehicle suddenly decelerates, like in an emergency stop, or suddenly hits something, the sudden jerk can cause the soft tissue in the spine to stretch and strain, and the muscles, nerves and tendons of the neck to stretch. The whiplash injury can be caused by a sudden deceleration or impact at any speed, the vehicle does not necessarily need to be going fast.
The extent and severity of the whiplash injury depends on the type of accident and factors like whether the person was sitting with their head facing sideways and the distance between the head and headrest. Whiplash can vary from short-term discomfort or pain to long-term problems and even disability. Some people suffer with symptoms for years, others are lucky and the injury gets better quickly.
Other causes of whiplash injury include a violent blow to the head, perhaps in an assault, or repetitive damage to the muscles, tendons and vertebrae in the neck.
Whiplash injury is not always obvious straight away, so it is worth seeking medical treatment and getting a check-up even if you are not in any pain. It can be diagnosed by a thorough examination and by x-ray, which will also highlight if there are any fractures in the vertebrae of the neck.
Common symptoms of whiplash injury include neck pain, pain in the shoulders and arms, tingling in the arms, headaches, dizziness, tinnitus, temporary loss of memory, stiffness, muscle spasms, nausea, sickness and loss of mobility in the neck. Usually these symptoms clear up within a month and have no long-lasting effects. However, severe whiplash injury can have symptoms that go on for months and even years, and can cause psychological effects like depression and loss of libido.
Claiming Whiplash Injury Compensation
You should be able to claim personal injury compensation for your whiplash injury if the road traffic accident or blow to your head was not your fault. A whiplash injury can have a major impact on your life - long term pain, loss of earnings, the inability to carry on with your job, long term medical issues etc. - so it is worth considering claiming compensation for this injury which was sustained through no fault of your own.
To be able to claim personal injury compensation successfully, you must make sure that your injury is recorded. Notify the police of the accident and make sure that you obtain the driver's details, witness details, registration numbers of all vehicles concerned and the insurance details of all people involved. You should also get medical attention for your injury so that you can get adequate treatment and also so that there is a record of your injury and the extent and severity of it.
A police report, your medical records and any witness statements will help your injury solicitor to build a case for compensation and will be used as evidence in court. You should also keep any receipts of medical bills, prescriptions etc. and any other costs incurred.
The amount of compensation your personal injury lawyer can seek on your behalf will depend on the severity of your injury and the impact on your life.
Recovery from whiplash is very unpredictable, so it is important that you get legal advice from specialist personal injury solicitors as soon as it is humanly possible. Your claim will be evaluated, along with your injury, and then your personal injury solicitor will start to put a case together. A no win no fee agreement will mean that you can pursue your claim for compensation without worrying about paying fees if you lose. Many personal injury lawyers will work on this basis so don't let worries like costs prevent you from making a claim that could help you have a better quality of life.