We’ve all heard of the term ‘whiplash’ as it is one of the most common injuries suffered by individuals involved in road traffic accidents. However, the word whiplash is used in such a variety of different contexts that so frequently that it can often be misunderstood. We've listed five facts about whiplash claims in an attempt to dispel the myths.
The definition of whiplash
Whiplash is caused when the head suddenly jerks either backwards, forwards or sideways causing the muscles, ligaments and/or tendons in the neck or upper back to be damaged.
Usual symptoms include pain, stiffness and discomfort in the neck, shoulders or upper back however some people also experience blurred vision, nausea and lower back pain.
Symptoms may take time to appear
Many people mistakenly believe that whiplash is noticed immediately after an accident. This is not the case. It can take between 6 - 24 hours for whiplash symptoms to first make an appearance.
Medical attention should be obtained
Many people dismiss a whiplash injury as a minor injury that doesn’t require any medical attention. They then continue to self-medicate with over the counter pain relief medication for lengthy periods of time whilst going about their usually daily activities.
The reality is that all injuries should be checked out either by a local walk in centre, your GP or in more serious cases by your local A&E department. Only trained professionals can accurately diagnose your injuries and tell you how best to treat them.
Everyone reacts differently
NHS Guidelines indicate that most people with whiplash recover within a few days. However, some people find that their whiplash injuries last for some time.
In the vast majority of whiplash cases that we have come across the injuries sustained usually last between 6 weeks – 5 months, with pain and stiffness in the neck, shoulders and/or back gradually worsening in the days that immediately follow the accident. However, for some unfortunate people that suffer from chronic whiplash, it can take 6 – 24 months to fully recover from the effects.
Every whiplash claim is different
We’ve lost count of the times that people have compared their injuries to a friend’s or colleague’s injuries and assumed that as they both suffered a whiplash-type injury that they would receive the same compensation award. The effect that a whiplash injury has on you very much depends on your age, fitness level and general health.
Those who do physical jobs often find that they struggle to undertake heavy manual handling when suffering from a whiplash injury. Whereas those who work in an office environment can have difficulty with staring at a computer screen for extended period of times.
All these things are taken in to account when you claim is valued meaning that no two injuries are exactly the same. For that reason, you may find that your compensation award is higher or lower than a friend who also suffered from whiplash.
Nelson Myatt LLP