Motor vehicle accidents have the potential to seriously injure you or other road users around you. The impact of two or more vehicles colliding with each other is no small bump!
One key thing to remember is that not all injuries sustained in a car accident will be immediately noticeable. Other hidden injuries may lay below the surface and not make themselves known for days or even weeks after the incident.
Whiplash, for example, is one soft tissue injury that may not be immediately apparent. Despite this, there are ongoing health concerns associated with whiplash.
It is for this reason that we believe it is worth claiming for whiplash in certain situations. If you still aren’t sure, we’ll do our best to explain why filing a compensation claim for whiplash may be in your best interests.
Can you claim compensation for whiplash?
Yes, you can claim damages for whiplash injuries. If you were injured on the road through no fault of your own, you may have a potential compensation claim.
Bringing a damages claim for whiplash, however, may not be straightforward for everyone. Not only can legal jargon be difficult to understand sometimes, but having ongoing health concerns may complicate things even further.
To confirm whether you are able to claim for whiplash, first seek medical attention and then get in contact with a qualified whiplash injury lawyer. A qualified lawyer will be able to consider the circumstances of your case and gauge whether or not you have the right to a compensation claim.
What is whiplash?
If you experience a sudden and heavy jolt — like the impact of a car accident — the soft tissue in your neck may be extended past its usual range of movement. This causes the soft tissues to overstretch or sprain, thus causing discomfort and pain the next, shoulders or even back.
Pain from whiplash may not be noticeable for 6 to 12 hours, or even longer after the accident.
How do you get whiplash?
You can get whiplash from any violent movement of the neck and head that causes your soft tissues to extend beyond their normal limit of movement. This causes overstretching or spraining of the muscles.
The most common cause of whiplash is through being involved in a motor vehicle accident. Specifically, the impact of colliding with another vehicle causes the neck to quickly accelerate and then decelerate.
In saying this, you can also get whiplash from a sudden blow to the head, like from slipping and falling or from playing a contact sport – like rugby or boxing.
How do I know if I have whiplash?
The tricky thing about knowing whether or not you have whiplash, is that sometimes the symptoms creep up on you, while at other times the symptoms are immediately obvious and severe.
In addition, the symptoms of whiplash may not be obvious for hours or even days after the accident.
Common symptoms of whiplash include:
- Neck pain and/or stiffness
- Swelling and tenderness in the neck
- Temporary loss or reduction of movement in the neck
- Muscle spasms
- Pain in shoulders or arms
- Pins and needles
- Trouble concentrating
- Difficulty swallowing
- Blurred vision
- Ringing in the ears.
You may have whiplash if you are experiencing one or more of the above symptoms.
We always recommend visiting your GP if you are concerned you have whiplash. A qualified medical professional will be able to let you know whether you have whiplash and gauge its severity.
Should I claim for whiplash?
While we recommend that Queenslanders always do their own research, in certain situations, we do recommend bringing a claim for whiplash injuries.
The effects of whiplash may be more severe and long-lasting than discomfort for a few days after the accident. Serious whiplash injuries may have wide-reaching and long-term consequences and may dramatically affect your ability to earn money and impair your quality of life.
Therefore, it may be worth claiming for whiplash if you:
- are experiencing symptoms of whiplash;
- a doctor, GP or other qualified medical professional confirms you have symptoms of whiplash;
- the injury was the fault of another driver; and
- the injury and its symptoms are impacting your daily activities, work, and or social activities.
How to make a claim for whiplash
To make a successful claim for whiplash, you will need to prove that your injuries were the result of another party’s negligence.
In order to do this, you will need to gather evidence of:
- The accident (photos, weather, road condition, police report)
- Your injury (medical records, diagnoses, treatment processes)
- The impact on your life (records of lost wages, benefits or entitlements).
This process, understandably, can be a lot to ask of someone who is trying to recover from an injury. Therefore, the expertise of a qualified injury lawyer can be an invaluable asset to your claim.
Do whiplash claims get rejected?
Yes – of course!
Just with any legal claim in Australia, both parties have the opportunity to present and defend their case. In other words, your injury claim is not guaranteed to be successful.
Your whiplash claim may be rejected if you fail to provide enough evidence of the other driver’s negligence or the extent of your injury. If you are found to be lying on your claim, you will have your claim rejected.
At Gouldson, we’ll consider all the details of your personal circumstances and assess whether or not you have grounds to commence a claim for damages. If we do not think claiming for whiplash is in your best interests, we will let you know.
What is a reasonable settlement for whiplash?
A reasonable settlement for whiplash is an amount sufficient enough to compensate for the impact your injuries have had on your life. It is, however, impossible to offer a number figure for a reasonable settlement, as each claim is unique to the person filing it.
Hiring a qualified personal injury lawyer can help you maximise your compensation sum. Depending on your situation, you may be able to seek damages for:
- Treatment and rehabilitation costs
- Lost income and superannuation, past and future, past and future
- Other expenses incurred as a direct consequence of the injury and its symptoms
- The cost of care and assistance in certain circumstances.
Does claiming whiplash affect your insurance?
If the motor vehicle accident was not your fault, and has been recognised by all other parties, your insurance premiums will not go up. After all, you have been proved to be the not at-fault driver.
If you have any questions whatsoever please reach out to one of our expert whiplash lawyers to have them answered, or lodge a free case review.