Perhaps the most common type of injury and subject of personal injury compensation claims resulting from a road accident is whiplash, although many other different injuries are also possible. We all have the comedy image of whiplash from movies like “The Fortune Cookie” where Jack Lemon hires a lawyer called “Whiplash Willie” to help fake an injury. Unfortunately for whiplash victims, the media continues to equate whiplash with schemers, fakers and opportunists. All you’ve got to do is strap on a neck brace and moan a bit for cash! People who genuinely suffer whiplash injuries find it no laughing matter.
If you have suffered a whiplash injury following a road traffic or any other accident which was not your fault, then you may be entitled to make a personal injury compensation claim. If you were a passenger in a vehicle involved in the collision that caused your whiplash injury, your compensation claim would be made against the insurance company of the person responsible for the accident. That could be the driver of the car you were travelling in or a third party. If you are a driver, a cyclist or a pedestrian your whiplash compensation claim would be made against the insurance company of the person driving the vehicle that collided with you and caused your injury.
That’s how you can claim, but what is whiplash and how is it caused? Whiplash results from a sudden jolt to the head or body which damages the muscles, ligaments, tendons or other soft tissues in the neck. The natural assumption is to automatically associate whiplash almost exclusively with car accidents, however, whiplash injuries can also result from many different events including slips, trips and falls, sports injuries, and even assaults and attacks. Whiplash causes pain, stiffness and restriction of movement in the neck area and can also cause headaches, muscle spasms and pain in the shoulders or arms. In more serious cases there can be swelling, back pain, pins and needles in the arms, hands or fingers, dizziness, lethargy and nausea.
In most cases, the injured person does not develop symptoms of whiplash immediately after their accident but begins to experience them a day or two afterwards. Those symptoms may also get worse over a period of time before they start to get better. The severity of a whiplash injury can also vary greatly and while some people make a speedy recovery, others are left with symptoms and pain for months or even years. Whiplash can be treated in many different ways, but more often than not it’s a case of waiting for the body to heal itself. Symptoms can be alleviated by using ice packs to reduce any swelling and taking painkillers or anti inflammatory drugs, but you should always check with your GP or pharmacist before taking any medication. Resting an injured neck might also be advisable to begin with, however your GP may suggest a series of gentle exercises to prevent the areas affected from stiffening up.
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