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Can A Whiplash Claim Be Refused?

By Cat Way. Last Updated 6th September 2023. If you’ve suffered whiplash symptoms from a car accident that wasn’t your fault, you may be entitled to claim for compensation. You might, however, have some questions about claiming, such as ‘can a whiplash claim be refused?’ and ‘what happens if a whiplash claim is denied?’ This guide aims to answer these questions and more.

Can a whiplash claim be refused guide

Can a whiplash claim be refused?

When you make a claim for compensation, you might worry about what happens if your claim is denied.

While some whiplash claims could be relatively straightforward, others may not be. For instance, the defendant may dispute their liability. Or they may dispute the existence or severity of your injury. This guide aims to explain what happens if a whiplash claim is rejected. We’ll also look at what steps you may be able to take in response. The potential reasons why a whiplash claim may be rejected is something else we’ll explore in this guide.

We also discuss potential compensation amounts for a whiplash claim. We’ll also talk about how you may be able to claim for whiplash with a No Win No Fee solicitor. We also explain the benefits working with a No Win No Fee solicitor can bring.

If you would like further advice and support with a whiplash claim that has been refused, you can call our team for free advice at any time on 0800 073 8804. If you would like more detailed answers to questions such as “can a whiplash claim be refused?”, you may prefer to contact us online or through our Live Chat window now on your screen. We’d be happy to help you.

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What Is Compensation Claim For Whiplash?

Whiplash is a neck injury which most commonly occurs following a road traffic accident or a slip and fall. In accidents such as these, the head may snap back and forwards or jerk to the side quickly. If they are fast enough, such motions can potentially damage muscles, bones, nerves and tendons in or near the neck. A whiplash injury may not present noticeable symptoms right away, but could come on over some hours after an accident has occurred. Your whiplash claim can be refused if you do not have sufficient evidence to back it up.

The symptoms a whiplash injury may cause could include:

  • Pain the neck area
  • Stiffness
  • Trouble moving the head
  • Headaches
  • Spasms in the muscles of the arms and shoulders
  • Pain in the arms and shoulders

If pain is so severe that ibuprofen or paracetamol doesn’t alleviate it, or you experience pins and needles, limb weakness, issues with sitting or walking, or electric-shock style symptoms in the face, back or neck, this may mean your injury is serious and you should seek medical treatment urgently.

For whiplash claims, as with any personal injury compensation claim, you need to prove that your injury was caused by third-party negligence. This would involve proving that the third party who caused your injury had a duty of care that was breached when they injured you. However, they may reject your claim for a number of reasons that we cover in the section below.

Can A Whiplash Claim Be Refused?

There are some circumstances under which a whiplash injury claim can be refused.  For example, claims for whiplash could be struck out or dismissed if you do not have the right evidence to support your version of events. Similarly, your claim may be refused if you do not meet the eligibility criteria as discussed above.

A whiplash claim could also be refused if you fail to start proceedings within the time limit. This limit is set out by the Limitation Act 1980, which states that you have three years to start your claim. However, there are some exceptions to this rule, which our advisors can tell you more about when you get in touch.

Our advisors are here to help. They can answer more questions like can a whiplash claim be refused, and can offer more insight into the whiplash claims process. Through a free evaluation, one of our advisors can help you identify whether your claim is valid, and may be able to connect you with a solicitor. Contact us today to learn more.

Time Limits For Claiming

Regarding the last potential reason, the standard time limit for whiplash injury claims is three injuries from when your injury occurred. Since, whiplash injuries are not always immediately noticeable, the time limit may start from when your injury could be identified. This is known as the date of knowledge. Once you can be aware of your whiplash injury, any potential compensation claim will need to be started within three years to be valid.

In certain circumstances, the time limit for starting a claim may be put on hold at least temporarily. This can happen when a victim of whiplash is either under the age of 18 or lacks the mental capacity to claim on their own. In either case, someone else may be able to claim on behalf of the victim as a litigation friend. If, however, the victim turns 18 or recovers sufficient mental capacity before a claim is started for them, then the time limit will begin from when this happens.

If you have had a claim for whiplash refused and believe that the refusal was unfair, you could contact our advisors here at Legal Expert. We can help to answer any queries you may have regarding whiplash claims and whether you meet requirements to make such a claim.

How To Prove A Claim For A Whiplash Injury

A whiplash claim can be refused if you lack sufficient evidence to establish that your injuries were sustained due to negligence. Therefore, it’s vital that you can prove that your injuries were caused by another road user breaching the duty of care they owed you. You can only claim for whiplash if you can back up your claim.

The list below contains some useful information on evidence you could acquire that may help support your claim. However, this is not a complete list. Get in touch if you’d like to know about additional examples.

  • Video footage – CCTV surveillance or dashcam footage may have captured the incident that caused your injuries. For example, it may show that you were stationary at the time and a car crashed into the back of you. Generally, this would be a clear example of negligence on behalf of the other car.
  • Photographs – The damage to your car as well as your physical injuries can be captured in photographs.
  • Witness contact details – During the process of your claim, a solicitor can get in touch with those who saw your incident and ask them to submit a written statement.

If you have any questions regarding compensation for whiplash or other car accident claims, please contact our advisors today. Once we know more about your circumstances, we will be able to offer you more specific advice on making a claim for a whiplash injury.

Whiplash Claim UK – Changes To The Whiplash Law

The Whiplash Reform Programme implemented changes to the way in which certain road traffic accident claims are made. As per the changes, adult passengers and drivers with whiplash injuries valued at £5,000 or less need to claim in a different way. They will also have their whiplash injuries valued according to the Whiplash Injury Regulations 2021 which has a tariff of fixed amounts.

In some cases, it may not be necessary for to claim in this claim. For example, a person might sustain other injuries that bring the total value of the claim over £5,000. In this instance, they will claim the traditional way. However, the tariff will still apply to whiplash injuries. Any other injuries not included in the tariff will be valued in the traditional way.

To find out whether the whiplash reforms will have affect the way you make your claim, please get in touch using the number above.

Potential Whiplash Claim Settlement Amounts

You may have used our compensation calculator to help estimate how much your claim for a whiplash injury could be worth. However, as each claim is different, this may not have accounted for everything that could be included. For example, some claimants may recover special damages, which we look at shortly.

General Damages

When you ask, ‘can I claim for whiplash?’ you might be thinking of compensation for the pain and suffering caused by your injuries. This is called general damages.

In a claim for whiplash, the value of your injuries could come from a tariff amount found in the Whiplash Injury Regulations 2021 or the Judicial College Guidelines (JCG). The JCG is a document legal professionals use as guidance when valuing injuries. It contains a list of different injuries in varying severities alongside compensation brackets.

You may be wondering, ‘what can you claim for whiplash?’. The whiplash injury itself will be assigned a tariff amount if it’s valued below £5,000. However, other injuries you suffered will be assigned value with guidance from the JCG.

Our table below contains tariffs from the Injury Regulations and figures from the JCG. It is only to be used as a guide to how your injuries could be valued.

Type of Injury Compensation Bracket (JCG) Explanatory Notes
Whiplash Injuries – One Or More £4,215 Symptoms that last 18-24 months.
Whiplash Injuries With Minor Psychological Injuries – One Or More £4,345 Symptoms that last 15-18 months.
Severe Neck Injuries (i) In the region of £148,330 Those injuries to the neck that lead to spastic quadriparesis, or incomplete paraplegia. Injuries would be permanent. In some cases, injuries that have led to the injured party retaining no movement, or very little movement despite being in a collar for some years. Injured parties may also have severe headaches.
Severe Neck Injuries (ii) £65,740 to £130,930 Injuries that have caused damage to the discs of the cervical spine or neck fractures that are considered serious could be compensated for in this bracket. Disabilities would be less severe than those listed above but could still be considered severe.
Severe Neck Injuries (iii) £45,470 to £55,990 Severe injuries to the tendons and soft tissues of the neck could feature here. So could dislocations and fractures. Injuries in this bracket could lead to chronic conditions of a significant and permanent nature.
Moderate Neck Injuries (i) £24,990 to £38,490 Immediately severe symptoms of fractures or dislocations could be included in this bracket, and injuries may necessitate spinal fusion. Serious injuries to soft tissues could be included here if they lead to symptoms in the neck and the back.
Moderate Neck Injuries (ii) £13,740 to £24,990 Injuries of a wrenching nature, including those which cause disc lesions due to soft tissue damage. Cervical spondylosis could feature here, as could serious movement limitations and a need for future surgery.
Moderate Neck Injuries (iii) £7,890 to £13,740 If an injury has exacerbated or accelerated a previous condition for a period of up to 5 years. Soft tissue injuries that are moderate could also be included here where any recovery period was protracted and there remains an increased risk of trauma in the future.

You may want to know, ‘can a whiplash claim be refused?’. Our advisors can discuss why claims might be refused. In addition, they can value your claim. This can help ensure that you are claiming using the correct method. Once you’ve received your whiplash compensation, your claim cannot be reopened, so having it valued accurately is important.

Whiplash In A Car Accident – Special Damages

If you suffered whiplash in a car accident, your claim may include special damages. Special damages could help you recover costs you incurred due to your whiplash injuries. However, you will need evidence to support special damages in a claim for whiplash, such as receipts, invoices, and wage slips.

Special damages may include:

  • Medical expenses not covered by the NHS, such as prescription costs.
  • Loss of earnings.
  • Childcare costs if your whiplash injuries meant you had to hire childcare.
  • Transportation costs.

This list is not exhaustive. Every claim for whiplash is different, therefore, what you might be able to claim under special damages will be different. Free advice on what could be included in your whiplash in a car accident claim is available from our advisors.

Claim For A Whiplash Injury With Our No Win No Fee Lawyers

The whiplash claims process can seem daunting, but one of our solicitors could help you. They can offer services such as helping you gather evidence to support your claim and accurately value your potential settlement. Additionally, they can offer you a kind of No Win No Fee contract known as a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA). This means that they could help you claim for a whiplash injury without requiring any upfront fees for their services. Likewise, they usually won’t ask for any ongoing fees as your claim for a whiplash injury progresses.

The fee your solicitor will require under this kind of No Win No Fee arrangement is a success fee. This will be taken directly from your compensation award if you succeed, but there is a legislative cap in place to help ensure that you keep the majority of what you receive. However, if your claim doesn’t succeed, then you won’t pay this fee.

To learn more about how to claim for a whiplash injury and how one of our solicitors could help you, get in touch with our team today.

Claim For A Whiplash Injury – Speak To A Legal Expert Today

This guide has hopefully answered many questions you had about making a claim for a whiplash injury. If you want to know more about how claims for a whiplash injury work, you can speak to our advisors for free at a time that works for you.

You can contact us for free by:

Sending us a message using the online chat bubble at the bottom of your screen

Essential References

Thank you for reading our guide on the question: can a whiplash claim be refused? We hope you’ve found it useful.

FAQs Relating To Whiplash Claims

This section will answer FAQs relating to whiplash claims. 

What Evidence Do You Need For A Whiplash Claim?

For any personal injury claim, you would need evidence to prove that your injury was caused by third-party negligence. Evidence you may need includes witness statements, CCTV footage, photographic evidence of your injury and the scene as well as medical reports and scans. 

Do You Need Medical Evidence For A Whiplash Claim?

You will need some form of medical evidence to prove the nature, extent and validity of your injury. Organising a medical assessment with a doctor or consultant is an important part of the claims process. 

How Long Does The Average Whiplash Claim Take?

The standard timescale for whiplash claims can vary based on the case itself. If the third party in question denies liability for your injury, your claim may take longer to complete as you may need to go to court. 

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    • Patrick Mallon

      Patrick is a Grade A solicitor having qualified in 2005. He's an an expert in accident at work and public liability claims and is currently our head of the EL/PL department. Get in touch today for free to see how we can help you.

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