Motor accidents are more common than perhaps some would think and most whiplash injuries are as a result of one. Fortunately, many of them result in relatively little damage. But whilst the vehicles involved may not suffer much, drivers and passengers can. Whiplash injuries can be mild in nature and sufferers sometimes feel it does not warrant making a claim for compensation; in more serious cases it can lead to on-going discomfort and difficulties. In either case, a person who has suffered whiplash as the result of an accident is legally entitled to make a claim for compensation.
Whiplash and its effects
Whiplash has become a common term for the injury suffered when the neck is subjected to sudden movement forwards, backwards or sideways to such a degree that the movement damages the soft tissues of the neck which become sprained. Often the effects of whiplash are not immediately noticeable and this can be a significant factor when victims consider whether or not to make a claim for compensation. Effects can be mild, requiring little treatment, or more severe resulting in long-term pain and inconvenience or even loss of work and depression.
What to do after an accident
For the drivers involved, it is important that essential information such as insurance, addresses etc is exchanged. If this is not done at the time of the accident it must be reported to a Police officer or at a Police station within 24 hours. After this, the most important thing to do is to seek medical help. Even if the symptoms are mild, the sooner a medical practitioner is able to assess the damage the sooner any required treatment can be administered. It is often the case with whiplash that symptoms are worse the day after the accident. It is also necessary to have medical opinion in order to pursue any claim for compensation.
Get legal advice
If medical opinion is that an injury has been sustained as a result of the accident then legal advice should be sought. Again, this should be done as soon as possible. And it is advisable even if medical opinion has not been given. Finding out whether a claim is possible is a simple matter once solicitors have been identified; this can be done by searching for whiplash compensation specialists.
How long after the accident can a claim be made?
Claims can be made for injury compensation up to 3 years after the accident, or up to 3 years after symptoms of the injury are diagnosed.
This rule is different for children as the three year “clock” does not start to run until they reach the age of 18. They therefore have until they are 21 to make a claim. Despite the generous time allowed it is always advisable to start the process of making a claim as soon as possible after the injury has been sustained as it will be easier to prove the link between the injury and the accident.