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Whiplash Compensation Claims Scotland Guide – How Much Can I Claim?

Legal Expert can provide solicitors and lawyers across the UK to help claimants with whiplash compensation claims in Scotland. Whiplash is an injury which is both quite common, often misunderstood and all to often dismissed a minor injury. It is also an injury which has become associated with negative connotations. To some extent, this is because a whiplash injury and its effects are not visible to other people. Whiplash is an injury to the neck muscles which happens when the head is jerked is a sudden and violent motion. Commonly it happens in car and as well as other vehicle accidents as the force of the crash throws the person forward or to the side, however, it can also happen in other circumstances. A sudden blow to the body or any force which causes you to jerk or snap your neck in some way can lead to whiplash.

Whiplash Compensation Claims In ScotlandWhilst a whiplash injury will generally get better with a few weeks or months, the effects of whiplash can last for a lot longer in some cases and can result in severely limited movement or reduced levels of activity. The most common symptoms of whiplash may include pain of varying levels of severity, some dizziness and difficulty with everyday activities. Because the effects of a whiplash injury may not present immediately after the accident and as they can sometimes be confused with other injuries or medical issues, many people often do not even realise that they are suffering the effects of whiplash. The effects of whiplash can be extremely varied and range from being relatively minor, through to people having to take time off work, losing income and being unable to carry out day-to-day activities.

However minor or serious the effects of whiplash have been on you if you have suffered whiplash as a result of an accident which was not your fault you could be entitled to make a whiplash claim in Scotland. The solicitors we can provide claimants specialise in personal injury claims, such as for whiplash injuries.

Find out more information about whiplash injuries, their effects, and how to make a successful claim in our guide below. When you are ready to make a claim call us on 0800 073 8804.

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A guide to whiplash compensation claims in Scotland

Whiplash is one of the most common types of personal injuries and personal injury claims in the UK, with over 800,000 instances of whiplash compensation claims in Scotland and across the UK each year. They can commonly happen in accidents involving private cars, when on public transport (such as a bus or even a train), or when taking a taxi ride. As there are so many instances of whiplash injuries each year, it is one of the most common forms of personal injury claim. The accompanying graph from the UK parliament shows the prevalence of whiplash type injury symptoms.

graph Whiplash Compensation Claims In ScotlandHowever, just because whiplash is a very common form of injury it does not mean dealing with it, or making a claim for damages is always simple. In the sections below we look at what you should do if you are involved in an accident which leads to whiplash as well as how we can help you get the compensation you deserve. We have also included information on the average whiplash claim in Scotland and common whiplash compensation amounts that are paid out to claimants.

As we have seen, whiplash is caused by the head being accelerated in a violent way. The instinctive reaction of your body is to try and prevent this from happening, leading to the neck being snapped back as we often try and prevent the forward motion. The rapid acceleration of the head and neck, combined with us trying to prevent it is what leads to the strain injuries commonly suffered.

The effects of whiplash can be felt across the neck, upper spine and shoulders as the muscles of the neck, and which support the head extend through these areas. Whiplash symptoms can range from being minor through to being much more severe injuries. The most severe forms of whiplash can even lead to paralysis, though this is extremely rare.

What is whiplash?

The main damage caused by the violent acceleration and movement in a whiplash accident is to the tendons and connective tissues. Tendons are a tough fibrous tissue which connects muscle and bone together. The ligaments are the tissues which connect bones together at a joint. Whiplash typically damages one or both of these tissue types resulting in tenderness, reduced movement and stiffness across the affected area. These symptoms can take around 12 hours to develop after an accident, though in some cases they can take much longer. The pain and injury may become progressively worse over several days after the injury. This is why a person may seem fine immediately after an accident. Whilst most people suffer whiplash as a result of a road traffic accident, it can also be caused by contact sports such as rugby or boxing. If you have had a whiplash injury in Scotland, our expert team can help.

Getting a diagnosis: Diagnosing whiplash injuries do not usually require any special testing or scans and can be detected from your symptoms. If you have been involved in an accident you should visit your GP or hospital straight away as well as a few days later. This is so that you can get both any immediate treatment you may need, as well as following up to find out if whiplash has developed. Straight after the accident, your doctor will examine the neck and shoulder areas looking for signs of damage to the muscle or tendons such as spasms, tenderness or a reduced range of motion.

Whiplash treatment options: according to the NHS in many cases whiplash will get better on its own or with very basic treatment. Contrary to the image people often have of someone with whiplash wearing a brace or collar, the NHS in Scotland recommends moving your neck rather than keeping it fixed in place. Retaining mobility will aid in recovery and speed up the recovery time. Pain and inflammatory symptoms can be managed with common painkillers and anti-inflammatory drugs, though your treatment regime will be tailored by your doctor to your specific symptoms.v

Generally, whiplash will get better within a few weeks or months. If it lasts for longer than six months it is called chronic whiplash.

WWhat circumstances can lead to a whiplash claim in Scotland?

People typically making a whiplash injury compensation claim in Scotland will typically have been involved in some form of a car accident. There are several types of car accidents which can lead to a person suffering whiplash. Below, we look at the most common forms.

Rear end shunts: These are the most common form of accidents leading to whiplash. The occupant will have been in either a slow-moving or stationary vehicle. The driver or passenger in the car being hit will suffer unexpected forces, straining their body, with the chin often striking the chest before the head is snapped back.

Head on collisions: accidents like these typically happen at higher speeds and can occur in a variety of ways. They will often also result in more serious injuries. A head-on accident may cause the neck to be hyperflexed (thrown forward) before being hyperextended (pushed par back). This action could cause the spinal discs to be pushed backward and bulge out. This can even lead to a hernia or the spinal disc leading to a high degree of pain and reduced mobility in the shoulders and arms.

Side impacts: even a side impact can cause the body and neck to move in an abrupt and unexpected way, leading to a whiplash injury.

Any of these types of vehicle accidents can occur in a car, bus, coach, taxi or on a motorbike or other vehicle. If you have experienced a road traffic accident, contact our team to find out if you could make a whiplash or car accident claim in Scotland.

What can you claim for?

One of the most commonly asked questions is “what the average whiplash claim in Scotland involves”, in terms of what can be claimed for, and how much the claimant might expect to be awarded. Whiplash compensation amounts do vary depending on the circumstances and severity of the accident and injury and whether or not any other financial costs need to be taken into account as part of the claim.

Whether you are seeking whiplash injury compensation in Scotland, or in England & Wales, there are several different components which can make up your claim.

General damages

The most common part of a settlement if for general damages. These are awarded for the injury itself and follows guidelines published by the Judicial Standards Board. This part of the award is solely for the injury suffered and any pain it caused.

Special damages

This covers all other types of compensation and is broken down into several different types.

Loss of earnings: if you had to take unpaid leave from work, had to change to a lower paid role, reduce your workload or otherwise found your income lowered as a direct result of the injury you can also claim for this loss.

Travel expenses: if you had to travel as a result of the accident, such as travel to a medical appointment or visiting a solicitor, you can claim for these expenses.

Medical expenses: whilst most of your care will be covered by NHS Scotland, you may find that you have had to pay for some emergency treatment or that you will have to have prescription medication to deal with the pain and inflammation. You can claim these costs back from the defendant as part of your claim.

Emotional and psychological effects: an accident may not just result in physical injuries. In many cases, people can also suffer psychological trauma as a result of an accident. Even the stress of having to pursue a compensation claim (which many people need to do so they are not left out of pocket) can cause psychological trauma.

The types of compensation listed above are the main types of compensation that someone can claim for after suffering a whiplash accident. However, there may be other forms of damages and things which people can claim for.

It should also be noted that you are able to make any form of personal injury claim on behalf of someone else if they are unable to do so. This could involve a parent or guardian making a claim on behalf of a child or claiming on behalf of someone who is not able to make the claim due to diminished mental capacity.

How long does it take to recovery from whiplash?

How long it will take to get over your whiplash injury will depend on multiple factors such as the severity of your initial injury, the location of the injury and its extent. Many people will recover from whiplash within a few days to a few weeks, with most patients making a full recovery after three months. The bulk of people who experience whiplash will not suffer any longer-term complications or symptoms.

Some people will experience longer-term symptoms and a study cited by NHS Scotland found that in a group of 2,627 patients, 325 had not fully recovered after six months. People who still experience pain and headaches for months or years after the incident are diagnosed as suffering from chronic whiplash. The pain may be experienced in areas such as your neck, vertebral discs, or tendons and ligaments. Chronic pain following whiplash is often difficult to treat some degree of pain an/or restricted movement may be permanently felt in this area.

The difference between whiplash injury claims in Scotland and in England & Wales

The largest differences in making a whiplash claim in Scotland compared to the rest of the UK are where the case may take place if it needs to go to court, and how the settlement figure is reached. Settlements for personal injury claims in Scotland are determined according to guidelines produced by the Judicial Studies Board. This provides a guideline amount for each type of injury payment and as such very few average whiplash claims in Scotland need to go to court as both parties have a reference amount to work from.

When a case does need to go to court it will be to the Sheriff Court or Court of Session. These are used when a party, such as an insurance company is undervaluing the settlement in a personal injury case. Some insurance providers attempt to pay claimants according to their own (often much lower) rates, rather than according to the Judicial Studies Guidelines. We always advise claimants not to take these much lower offers as you could be entitled to much more. Your case will then be taken up in the Sheriff Court which will decide upon the amount of compensation that you are entitled to.

Can I make a whiplash claim?

You can make a whiplash claim in Scotland if your injuries were the result of an accident which was not your fault or an accident which was partially the fault of another party. In order to make a successful claim, you will need to work with an experienced personal injury claims solicitor. They will gather evidence of the accident you were involved in, in order to satisfy the following criteria:

  1. That you were owed a duty of care by the other party. This could be the duty of care owed by a driver to their passenger, or by another road user to you as a fellow motorist.
  2. Next, it needs to be shown that the other party breached this duty of care in some way. This could be through impairment (such as driving under the influence of alcohol), negligence or otherwise poor driving.
  3. It then needs to be shown that this breach was either the cause of (or contributing factor in) the accident you suffered and your resulting injuries.

Depending on the circumstances of your accident and injuries this can sometimes be a complicated process. This is why it is important to have the right legal team behind you in making your claim.

Claiming for a whiplash injury in Scotland as a passenger

Whether you were the driver of a vehicle or the passenger, if you have sustained an injury such as whiplash as a result of an accident which was not your fault, you have the same rights to make a compensation claim. Passenger whiplash claims can often be simpler to conduct as the passenger in a vehicle accident is often considered to be a bystander to the incident. As the passenger, you can make a compensation claim against the driver of a vehicle which caused the accident, even if you were in the same vehicle as the driver responsible for the accident.

It should also be noted that in some cases you may be able to make a claim against the driver of the vehicle you were in, even if they were not responsible for the accident. You are entitled to do so if the driver did not have a full driving license or adequate insurance.

The Average whiplash claim in Scotland

Whiplash is a very varied injury in terms of the way the injury could be caused and the extent of the injuries suffered, as well a how long the effects last. As such, there is no ‘average whiplash compensation settlement’. The amount of compensation that you will be entitled to will depend on how serious the injuries you sustained were and how great the impact has been on your life.

In the table below we have included examples of different injury types which are common to sufferers of whiplash injuries as the amounts of compensation that could be paid out for these injuries. Whilst the solicitors we provide will always work to get you the maximum amount of compensation you are entitled to, the amount could vary from those below.

Part of BodySeverityAmountNotes
Shoulder InjuryMinor£350 - £6,700Injuries will be short-term may include restricted movement in one both arms as well as ongoing pain.
Shoulder InjuryModerate£6,250 - £9,750Moderate injuries leading to limited movement in one or both arms. Injury is expected to last for a longer time.
Shoulder InjurySevere£9,500 - £37,00Severe injuries may lead to impaired movement or numbness of one or both arms. Effects of the injury are expected to be long lasting.
Neck InjuryMinor£1,800 - £ 6,200Short-term neck damage such as sprains, strains or bruising.
Neck InjuryModerate£29,600 - £42,300Longer-term neck injuries leading to restricted movement as well as pain.
Neck InjurySevere£35,500 - £112, 450Severe ongoing impaired movement as well as pain. Injury may lead to partial or full paralysis in the local area. .
Back InjuryMinor£350 -£9,850Minor back injuries such as strains, sprains and bruising.
Back InjuryModerate£30,750 - £8,750Moderate back injuries which may also have long-term or ongoing pain and some loss of function.
Back InjurySevere£29,750 - £123,300Loss of function, possibly including partial paralysis, expected to last into the long-term.

All figures are provided for illustrative purposes and your settlement may differ.

No win, no fee whiplash claims, Scotland

If you have suffered whiplash and are looking to make a whiplash injury compensation claim in Scotland one of the biggest worries you might have is the cost of taking legal action. One of the biggest concern many of the people we help have before starting a claim is the cost of doing so. In the past getting compensation was often a costly process. However, this is no longer the case.

Legal Expert is proud to help our clients through what is called no win, no fee agreements. This means that at the start of your claim, and whilst we are conducting it on your behalf, there will be no fees to pay. In the unlikely case that your claim is not successful, you won’t have any legal fees or costs to pay. If we do secure a compensation settlement for you, the fee structure will be set out in the agreement. Before you sign your no win, no fee agreement, your solicitor will ensure that you fully understand both the agreement and your solicitors’ fee structure.

Contact us today

Whether you need advice on making whiplash claims in Scotland, another form of car accident claim in Scotland or general advice on personal injury claims across the UK, talk to the team at Legal Expert. Our advisors are on hand seven days a week to assess your individual circumstances and to start your claims process. We work with claimants who have suffered a variety of whiplash injuries and can help you make a successful claim against the responsible party, no matter whether you were a passenger in a car or the driver.

Our team will discuss your claim as well as what compensation you could be entitled to claim. You can start the claims process by filling in our online claims form, sending an email to info@legalexpert.co.uk, or simply by calling our friendly team on 0800 073 8804.

Useful links

Personal injury claims in Scotland
Find out further information about the differences in making a personal injury claim in Scotland, compared to other parts of the UK, as well as our personal injury claims in Scotland calculator, in our Scottish compensation claims guide.

How long do the effects of whiplash last?
Find out how long the effects and symptoms of whiplash can last on average in our guide.

NHS Scotland guide to whiplash
Find out more about the symptoms, treatment options and possible complications of whiplash injuries in this guide.

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