Outline of Whiplash Injury Claims
Whiplash injury claims are made when the victim of an accident sustains an injury caused by the spine and soft tissues of the neck and upper back being hyper-extended when their head is jerked back and forth. These types of injuries are commonly associated with road traffic accidents in which the accident victim’s vehicle has been crashed into at the rear.
However, whiplash injuries can be sustained in many other ways; from slips or falls, for example or during participation in contact sport. Generally, whiplash injuries are associated with scenarios involving rapid acceleration and deceleration.
Should I Claim for Whiplash?
Many potential plaintiffs who wish to make whiplash injury claims are often reluctant to initiate action because of the well-known fact that such claims can be difficult to resolve. The high number of rear end car accidents in Ireland has given rise to many false whiplash claims and insurance companies have become less willing to automatically accept their policyholder’s liability. That said, if you have genuine whiplash injuries that were sustained in an accident that you were not responsible for, you would be recommended to consult with a solicitor in the free initial consultation that most solicitors offer, where you would receive expert advice on whether or not you have a viable claim.
Car Accident Whiplash Symptoms
The symptoms usually described in whiplash injury claims include pain and stiffness of the neck, shoulders and lower back. Additional symptoms can include fatigue, dizziness, headaches, a tingling sensation in the arms and hands, problems with vision and concentration, insomnia or difficulties with short-term memory. Pain and stiffness of the neck are the most common symptoms in car accidents, and indeed in other collisions that may cause whiplash, and victims rarely suffer more than a few secondary symptoms.
Signs of Whiplash after Car Accident
Rear end collisions are the most common reason for whiplash injury claims and it is worth noting that a car collision as slow as 24 kilometres-per-hour may produce enough energy to cause whiplash. The signs of whiplash that might appear after the accident could include dizziness, shoulder pain, pain in either one or both arms, tightness/tingling of limbs and blurred vision. It must be said, however, that the most common symptoms of whiplash – mentioned above – generally take a few days to manifest.
Long Term Symptoms of Whiplash
A minor number of accident victims who make whiplash injury claims develop continuous whiplash symptoms and develop “whiplash syndrome”. These long term symptoms cause continuous headaches and pain, lumbar pains, sleep disruptions, restricted movement at the back of the neck, tingling in the arms and even reduced libido. Whiplash syndrome is difficult to treat and symptoms can persevere for months or even years in cases involving long term neck pain.
How Long does it Take to Recover from Whiplash?
Unfortunately, there is no single treatment for whiplash and each individual who makes whiplash injury claims will likely experience different symptoms and recover at different rates. Only a qualified medical practitioner can determine the appropriate remedy for your particular circumstances. On a short term basis, your doctor will most likely prescribe painkillers and will perhaps recommend the services of a physiotherapist.
Pedestrian Whiplash Compensation
Pedestrians who make whiplash injury claims were likely to have been struck by a vehicle, as this is the most common reason for pedestrians suffering with whiplash injuries. Their symptoms may have been experienced immediately following the accident although they often do not develop for several hours after the accident and can worsen during the following 24 – 48 hours. Therefore, it is vital that any pedestrian that has been injured in an accident that was not their fault seek immediate medical attention regardless of whether or not they have apparent or obvious injuries.
Whiplash in Car Accident Compensation
Your health and safety should be the most important consideration if you have been involved in any type of accident. If you have been injured in a car accident, your wellbeing and that of your passengers and anyone else involved is far more important that any potential claim for whiplash compensation you may have.
It is of the utmost importance that you report to the Accident and Emergency department of the nearest hospital, or at least make an emergency appointment with your GP, if your accident was not deemed serious enough for an ambulance to be summoned. Whiplash injuries, as we know, may take some time to develop and the sooner you are examined by a medical practitioner, the better for your health, and for your claim.
You should be aware that your presence in hospital or with your GP will be noted in your medical records which may later be used as evidence to support your whiplash compensation claim.
How Much is Whiplash Worth?
Most people who wish to pursue whiplash injury claims will ask in the early stages of the preparation of their case about how much their whiplash claim is worth and the truth is that at this point there is no way of knowing the answer to their question.
Your solicitor will be unable to give any indication about the amount of compensation you may be eligible for without medical evidence in the form of your medical records and possibly written reports from the doctor who treated your injury.
It should be noted that the “value” of any whiplash compensation case is evaluated by taking the severity of the injury into account, along with how the injury will affect the victim’s working, family, personal and recreational lives in the short to long terms. Additionally, your claim may well include the aspect of “special damages” – which could include loss of income, including the potential loss of earnings.
As whiplash injuries are sometimes slow to manifest, it may be some months or even years until your doctors can provide an accurate prognosis of the expected recuperation period or diagnose a long term affliction.
Whiplash Injury Claims: Conclusion
Whiplash injury claims are generally made by victims of a rear ended car collision that was not their fault. However, whiplash injuries can be sustained from a range of different accidents including public transport accidents, sports collisions and slips or falls.
Although whiplash injuries are notoriously difficult to diagnose, and there is risk involved in pursuing a claim, if you have been involved in an accident for which you were not to blame you would be advised in consulting with a solicitor at the first practical opportunity following medical treatment to establish whether or not you have a claim worth pursuing.