Whiplash. Is the commonly used term to describe a hyperextension-hyperflexion injury to the neck and spine caused by a jerking movement of the head in either a forward or backward direction.
This is the most prevalent injury as a result of a RTA, in particular a rear shunt. Whiplash does not only occur as a result of RTA’s but can be caused by a fall and whiplash itself is the result of the soft tissues in the spine being stretched and strained by the jerking of the head or upper torso.
Whiplash is painful and can restrict movement to the head and neck, causing pain along the whole of the parts of the spine through the cervical, thoracic, lumber and sacral areas, also resulting in a restriction of movement.
It is not uncommon to have pain to the shoulders and arms and pins and needles to the hands.
Headaches and dizziness are also very common.
Less common are ringing in the ears (tinnitus) and blurred vision.
How long can this last?
Well like all injuries the pain will subside over time and medical intervention (such as physiotherapy or Chiropractor treatment which SAM can arrange for the client at no cost) and the use of painkillers (co-codamol ,paracetamol, diclofenac ,ibroprofen etc) but time is the key for any whiplash injury and eventually a plateau of recovery will be reached.
Recovery from a whiplash injury is not like turning a light switch on and off, it is not sudden, but a gradual process and may take many months over which the symptoms will start to reduce.
Many medical professional have a rule of thumb that the duration of the whiplash is governed by the time when it first appeared.
If the whiplash was felt at the time of the incident then it will be of some duration, the longer between the onset and the incident the shorter the duration.
As the most prevalent injury from RTA’s there are thousands of cases that have been decided before the courts and therefore readily available on the internet to view and that has caused confusion with the public at large as to how much a specific whiplash claim is worth.
The question we hear so often is “why have I been offered “X” amount of pounds when a friend/relation/acquaintance had a similar injury some time back and was offered more.”
The value depends on the injury itself and its duration as given by a medical expert although this is often a “guesstimate”by the medical expert as to how long the injury will last.
It is also governed by age and occupation and if you are younger you may attract a higher award if you had no previous spinal problems. If you are much older your spine has already endured some wear and tear and insurers tend to make lower offers.
The trouble with case law is that it only reports the very good or the very bad quantum decisions made by the courts (it would not be newsworthy to the legal profession otherwise) and this causes confusion with the public at large as everyone knows someone who says they received many thousands of pounds for a whiplash injury.
That may or may not be true as people also tend to lump the other parts of their claim into the settlement so a £1500 whiplash settlement with loss of earnings and other claim elements may total £3-4000, but the full the sum will be the amount the individual will insist they got just for the whiplash.
We have even seen this on advertisements that used to be on the back of the daily newspapers saying “Mr X got £5333 for his whiplash claim” and “Mrs S got £3689” .
These must have been the extent of the full claim as personal injury values are in round figures such as hundreds or fifties but never an odd sum.
There are judicial study guidelines for whiplash injuries that separates whiplash injuries into bands.
That is however simply a “guide “for the judiciary and each case is decided on its own individual circumstances.
Values for whiplash injuries can run from a few hundred pounds for a few weeks whiplash, up to multiple thousands for very serious Whiplash injuries that could take years to recover from.
Severe injuries and significant permanent disability £15,000 to £25,000.
Fractures and ligament injuries resulting in moderate disability £6,500 to £13,500.
Serious fractures of one or both arms £9,000 to £29,000.
Uncomplicated fractures with complete recovery within a short period £3,000.
Uncomplicated where there is modest or residual disability up to £9,000.
Strains, sprains, soft tissue injuries up to £6,500.
Severe back injuries up to £14,000.
Severely disabling injuries £18,350 to £25,000.
Injuries leading to impairment of function £7,500 to £15,000.
Moderate or minor injuries up to £6,000.
Loss of fingers £2,000 to £9,000.
Severe fractures with partial amputations up to £18,500.
Fractures with impairment of grip £4,250 to £5,850.
Serious injury to ring or middle fingers £7,000 to £7,750.
Loss of thumb £18,000 to £27,500.
Severe dislocation of thumb £2,000 to £3,500.
Minor injuries involving no brain damage up to £6,000.
Minor brain damage with good recovery up to £21,000.
Minor injuries up to £6,750.
Severe injuries up to £13,000.
Lacerations, twisting or bruising injuries where recovery is complete up to £3,250.
Ongoing minor symptoms of aching / discomfort / occasional pain up to £6,500.
Simple fractures up to £4,250.
Severe injuries up to £7,000.
Recovery within 2 years £1,000 to £3,500.
Severe neck injuries up to £13,000.
Dislocation of the shoulder £6,000 to £9,000.
Moderate Injuries £3,750 to £6,000.
Minor Injuries £2,000 to £3,750.
Injuries resulting in significant or permanent disability £12,000 to £19,500.
Less severe or permanent disability £6,000 to £12,500.
Where recovery is complete up to £5,000.
Uncomplicated fracture up to £3,500.