Whiplash Claims – Average Payout
Compensation claims vary hugely in value depending on the severity of the injuries sustained by the Claimant. This is true for whiplash injuries. A personal injury claim does not just include the compensation for pain and suffering but also includes any out of pocket expenses incurred by the Claimant. We often hear of people knowing someone who got hundreds or thousands of pounds in compensation for their whiplash injury, so what is the average payout for a whiplash injury?
It is important to realise that there is no set amount of compensation for whiplash injuries. The reason for this is that whiplash injuries can vary in severity and the amount of compensation awarded for pain and suffering depends on the severity of the Claimant’s injuries and how long they take to make a full recovery from their injuries. Personal injury claims are split into two parts – general damages and special damages. The general damages claim is the claim for the Claimant’s pain and suffering and the special damages claim is the claim for any out of pocket expenses incurred by the Claimant, such as treatment costs, additional travelling expenses and loss of earnings.
The special damages claim is quantifiable – i.e. each item has a specific value which can be backed up with documentary evidence such as receipts or pay slips. Before negotiating settlement of the claim your solicitor will draw up a ‘Schedule of Special Damages’ which sets out all of your out-of-pocket expenses. This will then be sent to the other side for agreement or negotiation.
The value of a general damages claim is assessed in a rather different way. Your solicitor will arrange for you to attend upon a medical expert who will assess your injuries and prepare a medical report with a prognosis for the future. Your solicitor will then research earlier settled cases, where the Claimant has suffered similar injuries to your own and has taken a similar amount of time to recover. Your solicitors will also refer to a document called the ‘Judicial Studies Board Guidelines’ which sets out guidelines as to how much compensation should be paid out for a particular type, or severity, of whiplash injury. The guidelines state that the following amounts may be awarded for whiplash injuries:
£850 - £2750
For minor whiplash injuries where recovery is made within one year of the accident.
£2750 - £5000
For minor soft-tissue and whiplash injuries where recovery is made within two years of the accident.
£5000 - £8750
Recovery usually takes place within a few years of the accident, however, recovery may be protracted and there may be an increased risk of further injury and complications.
£8750 - £16,000
For more severe injuries resulting in serious limitation of movement, permanent or recurring pain and the possibility of surgery.
In summary, there is no science to calculating the amount of compensation for a whiplash injury as the severity of the injury and the day to day effect on the sufferer’s life can vary greatly. However, the guidelines above (taken from the Judicial Studies Board Guidelines) give a good indication of how much you may receive if you have been unfortunate enough to have suffered a whiplash injury.
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