Whiplash Symptoms – Guide To Signs Of Whiplash
Everything You Need To Know About Whiplash Symptoms
According to the Personal Injury Law in the UK, anyone who suffers whiplash injury in a road accident that was due to no fault of theirs may be entitled to file a claim for whiplash injury compensation. This compensation is meant to cover all expenses associated with the injury including cost of short and long term treatment, loss of income due to not being able to go to work, cost of structural changes needed to facilitate independence and cost of home care if necessary.
If you were recently involved in any kind of road accident and you are experiencing the symptoms of whiplash injury, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries and the inconvenience you had to go through. Before you can do that you need to know what is whiplash injury, what causes it and what are the symptoms.
What is whiplash injury and what causes it?
Injury to the soft tissues in the neck is known as whiplash injury. The tendons and ligaments in the neck have a fixed range within which they can move normally without any strain. When these tendons and ligaments get forcefully and suddenly extended beyond their normal limit, they get injured. This is known as whiplash injury.
In a car accident, with the impact, the driver’s head tends to get thrown forward and then backward with great force, resulting in injury to the soft tissue of the neck or whiplash injury. While whiplash injuries tend to be more severe when the driver was traveling at great speed, they can also occur in low speed collisions depending on the direct of the impact and the position of the driver’s head and neck when the impact happened.
In its mildest form, whiplash injury can result in pain and minor restriction in movement. However in its more severe form, the symptoms can result in excruciating pain and severe movement limitations that can last several months. In some cases, whiplash injury symptoms can be permanent.
The time that it takes for the symptoms to manifest can also vary widely. In some cases the symptoms are evident right away, making a diagnosis easy. However, it is not uncommon for whiplash symptoms to manifest two or more days after the accident. In order to claim compensation for your whiplash injury, it is important to be able to prove the association between the symptoms and the accident. Many people fail to do this and unfortunately they also forfeit any compensation that they may have been entitled to.
The symptoms of whiplash range from minor to very severe and from common to very rare. The wide range of symptoms and their severity can make an accurate self-diagnosis very difficult. Moreover, in attempting to self-diagnose it is easy to overlook a rare symptom and make a wrong diagnosis.
After any car accident, whether minor or major, it is crucial to make an appointment with your GP and get an accurate diagnosis. A qualified medical professional will use a variety of diagnostic methods to arrive at a correct conclusion. This is important, both for medical as well as legal purposes. Getting an accurate diagnosis will help you get the right treatment for your injuries. It will also make it easier for you to win your compensation claim in court.
Common & uncommon whiplash symptoms
Some of the more common symptoms of whiplash injury include:
- Neck pain
- Upper back pain
- Stiff neck
- Sore neck muscles
- Limited motion of the neck and head
- Sore muscles in the upper back area – shoulders, upper arms and upper back
If you have whiplash injury, in addition to some of the common symptoms above, you may also experience some of following:
- Tingling sensation or pain in the arms and hands
- Lower back pain
- Blurred vision
- Ringing in the ears
- Difficulty sleeping
- Difficulty concentrating
- Feeling irritable
It is important to remember that most of these symptoms overlap with other conditions, which means that the presence of any of the above symptoms does not necessarily mean that you have whiplash injury. Getting medical advice from a qualified profession is important in order to get an accurate diagnosis.
Treatment for whiplash injury
Painkillers and anti-inflammatory tablets are usually sufficient to treat milder symptoms. Gentle neck exercises are usually also recommended in order to ensure that the area stays flexible does not get stiffer.
The treatment can be a little more complicated in more serious cases. In addition to pain meds, ongoing physiotherapy is often required to manage the main and increase flexibility.
Can whiplash be prevented?
Whiplash cannot be prevented entirely. As with any other injury, when a certain set of factors come together, it results in an injury. These things cannot be avoided completely but there are things that can be done to reduce the likelihood.
Safer roads, cars that are better designed and more careful drivers are three top factors that can reduce whiplash injuries drastically. That is a long time coming however. In the mean time, the best that you can do to stay safe is to drive carefully and position your headrest properly so that it provides maximum head and neck support in case of an accident.
How much can you claim for?
The Judicial Studies Board has provided detailed guidelines on the range of compensation applicable for the different types of whiplash injury and the severity of the injury.
Minor neck injuries may attract an award in the range of £875 to £5,150
Moderate neck injuries may attract an award in the range of £5,150 to £16,400
Severe neck injuries may attract an award in the range of £16,400 to £97,400
The exact amount you will be awarded will depend on the type of symptoms you are experiencing and the severity of the symptoms. Your medical expenses, cost of travel to and from the hospital and loss of earnings will all be taken into consideration along with your mental and emotional anguish when calculating the total recompense. As a guide to the amount of compensation you will receive you can visit our whiplash claims calculator page.
How to claim for your whiplash injuries
Whiplash compensation claims are filed under Personal Injury Law. The claims process used to be pretty straightforward. Anyone who suffered whiplash injury after being involved in a car crash that was not their fault could file a claim for compensation.
However, the recent increase in Cash-for-Crash scams has made it a little more difficult to get the award due to you. To win the claim, you have to prove that the accident was genuine and not staged solely to win compensation. You also have to prove that the whiplash injury was caused due to the accident. Moreover, you must make sure that you file your claim in court within three years of the date of the accident.
The best way to ensure that you have a strong case and that you file the claim before the time limit is to hire a reputed personal injury lawyer. Personal injury lawyers are fully conversant with this area of the law and can put together a strong case that will increase your chances of getting the maximum award that is due to you. What’s more, if you have a strong case, most personal injury lawyers will agree to represent you on a No Win No Fee basis.
A No Win No Fee means the lawyer will put together the case and file it in court without charging you any upfront fees. They take a fee only if they win the case for you. Usually, this fee is a negligible percentage of the total sum that the court awards you by way of compensation. Under these conditions, it makes far more sense to hire a personal injury lawyer to file the claim on your behalf while you focus on healing from your injuries.