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

By Mark Ainsdale. Last updated 27th July 2021. This is our updated guide to whiplash compensation claims in Scotland. It looks at how to claim for whiplash after a road traffic accident.

Legal Expert can provide personal injury lawyers across the UK to help claimants with road traffic accident claims. Whiplash is an injury that is both quite common, often misunderstood and all too often dismissed a minor injury. It is also an injury that has become associated with negative connotations. To some extent, this is because a whiplash injury and the ways that the injury has affected you may not be 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 throw 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. Read on for further information about filing whiplash compensation claims in Scotland.

Whiplash injuries

whiplash compensation claims in Scotland

Whiplash compensation claims in Scotland

Whilst 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 that 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’re ready to claim for either a minor whiplash injury or a major whiplash injury, call 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 a personal injury claim. The accompanying graph from Transport Scotland shows the prevalence of casualties on Scottish roads.

However, 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 that 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.

Other details

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 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?

Before looking further into whiplash compensation claims in Scotland, we shall look at whiplash injuries. The main damage caused by the violent acceleration and movement in a whiplash accident is to the tendons and connective tissues. Tendons are tough fibrous tissue that connects muscle and bone together. The ligaments are the tissues that 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.

Seeking medical attention as soon as possible after an accident can increase the strength of whiplash compensation claims in Scotland. This is because a record of your injuries will be made by the doctor you see.

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.

Generally, whiplash will get better within a few weeks or months. If it lasts for longer than six months it is called chronic whiplash. In any event, you may have the opportunity to file whiplash compensation claims in Scotland as a result.

Which 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 that 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 backwards 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 do whiplash compensation claims in Scotland include?”, 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 that can make up your claim.

General damages

The most common part of a settlement is for general damages. These cover the injury itself and follows guidelines for 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.

Further details

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 that people can make whiplash compensation claims in Scotland 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. Find out about how to claim for whiplash by contacting our team.

How long does it take to recover 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 long-term symptoms. 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. But note that chronic pain following whiplash is difficult to treat.

For more information on the difference between whiplash compensation claims in Scotland and in England and Wales, please read on, or contact our team today for free legal advice.

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 goes to court, it will be to the Sheriff Court or Court of Session. This happens when a party, such as an insurance company, is undervaluing the settlement in a personal injury case. Some insurance providers pay claimants according to their own (often much lower) rates, rather than the Judicial Studies Guidelines. We always advise claimants not to take these much lower offers as you could receive much more. Your case then goes to the Sheriff Court, which will decide upon the amount of compensation.

Can I make a whiplash claim?

You can make whiplash compensation claims in Scotland if your injuries were the result of an accident that was not your fault or an accident that 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 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 by a driver to their passenger, or by another road user to you.
  2. Next, you must show that the other party breaches 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 that 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 that caused the accident, even if you were in the same vehicle as the driver responsible for the accident.

In some cases, you could claim against the driver of your vehicle, even if they’re not responsible. You can do so if the driver doesn’t have a full driving license or adequate insurance.

Our next section will look at the average amounts of whiplash compensation claims in Scotland, please read on.

The Average whiplash claim in Scotland

Whiplash is a variable injury in terms of the cause and the extent of the damage. As such, there is no ‘average whiplash compensation settlement’. The amount of compensation depends on how serious the injuries are and the impact on your life.

In the table below we have examples of different injury types. These are common to sufferers of whiplash injuries as the amounts of compensation that could cover these injuries. Note that our solicitors will always work to get you the maximum amount of compensation you deserve.

Part of BodySeverityAmountNotes
Shoulder InjuryModerate £7,410 to £11,980Includes frozen shoulder with limitation of movement and discomfort with symptoms persisting for about two years.
Shoulder InjurySerious £11,980 to £18,020Includes dislocation of the shoulder and damage to the lower part of the brachial plexus causing pain in shoulder and neck.
Shoulder InjurySevere£18,020 to £45,070Severe injuries may lead to impaired movement or numbness of one or both arms. Effects of the injury are expected to be long lasting.
Neck InjuryMinorUp to £7,410Where a full recovery takes place within a period of about three months to two years.
Neck InjuryModerate£7,410 to £36,120Injuries which may have accelerated and/or exacerbated a pre-existing condition over a shorter period of time, usually less than five years will be covered in this bracket. Also includes injuries such as fractures or dislocations which cause severe immediate symptoms and which may necessitate spinal fusion.
Neck InjurySevere£42,680 to £139,210Severe ongoing impaired movement as well as pain. Injury may lead to partial or full paralysis in the local area. Can also cover Neck injury associated with incomplete paraplegia or resulting in permanent spastic quadriparesis.
Back injury Minor Up to £11,730Where a full recovery or a recovery to nuisance level takes place without surgery from three months to about two to five years.
Back InjuryModerate£11,730 to £36,390The bracket contains a wide variety of injuries including compression/crush fractures of the lumbar vertebrae where there is a substantial risk of osteoarthritis and constant pain and discomfort and the disturbance of ligaments and muscles.
Back InjurySevere£36,390 to £151,070From cases of disc lesions or fractures of discs or of vertebral bodies or soft tissue injuries leading to chronic conditions to cases of the most severe injury involving damage to the spinal cord and nerve roots, leading to a combination of very serious consequences.
Arm Injury Severe £90,250 to £122,860Injuries which fall short of amputation but which are extremely serious and leave the injured person little better off than if the arm had been lost.
Arm injury Serious £36,770 to £56,180Serious fractures of one or both forearms where there is significant permanent residual disability whether functional or cosmetic.
Arm injury Less severe £18,020 to £36,770While there will have been significant disabilities, a substantial degree of recovery will have taken place or will be expected.

All figures are for illustrative purposes and your settlement may differ. The table has the latest settlement figures for whiplash compensation claims in Scotland.

No win, no fee whiplash claims, Scotland

If you wish to make whiplash injury compensation claims in Scotland, one of the biggest worries may be the cost. In the past, getting compensation would often be a costly process. However, this is no longer the case.

Legal Expert is proud to help our clients through No Win No Fee agreements. This means that at the start of your claim, and during the claims process, there are 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 matches that within the agreement. Before you sign, your solicitor will ensure that you fully understand both the agreement and your solicitors’ fee structure.

Contact us today

If you need advice on making whiplash compensation claims in Scotland, talk to the team at Legal Expert. Our advisors are on hand to assess your individual circumstances and to start your claims process. We work with claimants suffering a variety of whiplash injuries and can help you claim against the responsible party. And that’s no matter whether you’re a passenger in a car or the driver.

Our team will discuss your claim as well as what compensation you could receive. You can start the claims process by filling in our online claims form. Alternatively, you can send an email to info@legalexpert.co.uk, or simply call 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. There’s also our personal injury claims in Scotland calculator in our Scottish compensation claims guide.

Permanent Injury Claims
In this updated guide we look at compensation claims for permanent injuries.

Time Limits On Personal Injury Claims
How long do you have to claim for a personal injury? Find out in this updated 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.

Whiplash Compensation Claims In Scotland – FAQs

Am I eligible to make a whiplash injury claim?

One of the most common questions people may have is that of their eligibility. The simple rule is, if another party causes your road traffic accident, you could have a valid claim. As long as you can demonstrate that the accident causes your injury, a solicitor could help you.

Could I claim if I was partially at fault?

If you’re partially at fault, you could be able to make a claim against the other party. These claims are usually called split liability claims.

In spilt liability claims, your compensation settlement reduces by the amount you are at fault. If you’re half at fault for the accident, you could only claim half the settlement you otherwise could claim.

How can I strengthen my whiplash injury claim?

In order to get maximum compensation, collect as much evidence as possible and seek medical attention ASAP. This will ensure that there is a record of your injuries.

How much could I receive in a whiplash injury claim?

This depends on the severity of your injuries. Payouts for minor whiplash will be less than those where the effects permanently impact your quality of life.

Can I make a whiplash claim myself?

You can claim without having a solicitor act on your behalf. But personal injury solicitors can help you get the full amount of compensation you deserve. And they will help the process run much more smoothly. 

How much does it cost to make a whiplash claim?

If you pay hourly for a solicitor’s representation then the cost can quickly add up. But you can make a claim without it costing you a thing until you receive your compensation.

How long do I have to make a personal injury claim?

The personal injury claims time limit for road traffic accidents is three years from the date of the accident.

How can I ease whiplash symptoms?

You can ease the pain of whiplash by taking painkillers like ibuprofen or paracetamol. Don’t rest your neck for long periods, as this might make it worse.

To make whiplash compensation claims in Scotland when you were partially at fault, talk to an expert.

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