Is There A Minimum Amount Awarded For A Whiplash Compensation Claim?
If you have been involved in a road traffic accident and have sustained a whiplash injury you may be considering making a claim. If your injuries are fairly minor, you may be wondering what the minimum payout for a whiplash injury compensation claim is and whether it is worth your while claiming. To seek to answer these questions, we look at what a whiplash injury actually is and how it is caused, how whiplash injuries can vary in severity and how compensation for a whiplash injury is actually calculated.
What is the minimum amount of compensation you are likely to be awarded for your whiplash claim?
The minimum amount will be awarded to those people who have suffered a very mild whiplash injury and have recovered relatively quickly. People who suffer from minor whiplash injuries (and therefore those that are likely to receive the ‘minimum’ amount of compensation) would typically receive between £750-£2500.
How can I tell if my injury is minor?
A whiplash injury is caused, usually during the course of a road traffic accident, often where one car collides with the rear of another vehicle. The impact of the collision causes the head and neck of the driver and/or passengers of the vehicle that has been struck to be suddenly and forcefully thrown back and forth causing the soft-tissue and ligaments in the neck to be stretched beyond their normal range of movement. This can result in a whiplash injury which will present itself as symptoms such as restricted movement of the neck, headaches, pain and stiffness in the neck, shoulders and back, nausea, dizziness and pins and needles.
The severity of your injury will usually depend on the force at which you car was struck by the other vehicle. People suffering from minor whiplash injuries (where their symptoms are fully resolved within a few weeks or months of the accident) will usually only require gentle mobility exercises and painkillers to aid their recovery. However, where a more serious whiplash injury has been sustained, a course of physiotherapy or other intervention may be required.
For more serious whiplash injuries, you could receive as much as £16,000 for the whiplash injury in isolation, with additional compensation for other negative consequences of the accident. Here is a breakdown by category of typical whiplash compensation amounts.
I've been offered a very low figure by another source, can I get a second opinion?
Absolutely! Many insurance companies will try to offer an inappropriate level of compensation to the other driver. In addition, many solicitors are inexperienced or overworked and cannot give proper attention to your claim. These factors, and more besides, may well result in extremely unfavourable assessments of your position.
Ultimately, if your own solicitor believes you are entitled to a lower sum, it is much more likely that you will receive a lower sum. Receiving a second opinion from a solicitor with special expertise in whiplash claims is always wise, even if it only confirms that the original opinion was correct.
What else should I know about my whiplash claim?
When you instruct a solicitor to help you pursue a whiplash injury compensation claim, your solicitor will arrange for you to be seen by an independent medical expert who will assess your injuries and prepare a report providing a prognosis for the future. This report will form the basis of how the value of your claim is assessed. Your solicitor will look at other, previously settled, cases where Claimants have suffered similar injuries to your own and have taken a similar amount of time to recover. Your solicitor will also refer to a book called the Judicial Studies Board Guidelines in order to help value your claim.
If you have suffered from a whiplash injury it is important that you seek both medical and legal advice as soon as possible. Don’t forget that, as well as claiming compensation for your actual injury claim, you would also be able to claim compensation for any losses you have incurred as a result of the accident, such as lost earnings.
Nicholas Jervis, Solicitor (non-practising) and Managing Director of Whiplash Specialists Loyalty Law
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