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Neck injury compensation claims - Introduction

A neck injury is an injury to any part of the top of the spine, bone, muscles, cartilage, ligaments or tendons between the head and back. Neck injuries can also be linked to psychological symptoms including anxiety and depression.

An injury to the neck can be painful and distressing. The severity of a neck injury and the impact it can have on someone's life, can vary enormously:

Relatively Minor

Neck injury symptoms may include minor numbness and pain forcing the sufferer to take time off work. Damage to muscle and soft tissue or ligaments and tendons tend the heal well. However there is still typically pain and distress lasting anywhere from months up to a year. Compensation s available under the JSB guidelines for 'Minor Neck Settlements' or for 'Neck symptoms/whiplash lasting up to one year".


More serious neck injuries such as a prolapsed disc, cervical spondylosis, permanent, on-going or recurrent pain will be eligible for more substantial compensation.

More serious whiplash injuries where a recovery takes between 1 and 2 years will also usually qualify for higher compensation.


As the neck is essentially part of the spine, damage to this region of the body can have serious life changing impact such as complete paralysis (paraplegia, quadriplegia) or permanent spastic quadriparesis. Settlements for injuries of this severity are the highest.

Compensation awards for less severe disabilities work on a sliding scale that considers the extent of pain, disability and time taken to recovery of for symptoms to ease.

How much compensation can I claim for a neck injury?

Neck injury compensation amounts will vary depending on the severity of the injury. For a soft tissue injury recovering within one year, an average claim may range from £1,000 to £3,300. Neck fractures, dislocations and damage to discs are valued with reference to the severity and duration of the injury, from around £10,000 to over £110,000 for the most serious injuries.

Table 1. Neck injury compensation amounts

Injury TypeDuration of InjuryCompensation Amount
Soft tissue neck injury (whiplash)Up to 3 months£300 to £1,860
Moderate soft tissue neck injury3 months to 1 year£1,860 to £3,300
Severe soft tissue neck injury1 year to 2 years£3,300 to £6,000
Spondylosis (limitation of movement and recurring pain)Permanent/recurring£10,450 to £19,000
Neck fracture or dislocationPartial recovery£19,000 to £29,250
Neck fracture or dislocationPermanent symptoms£34,575 to £42,550
Severe neck injuryPermanentApprox. £112,750

However, the above neck injury compensation payouts only factor in general damages. Special damages, including the cost of healthcare, physiotherapy and other costs incurred as a result of the injury, will also be included in the total settlement or award.

Find out how much your neck injury claim is worth, including general and special damages, with Quittance's Injury Compensation Calculator:

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How is neck injury compensation calculated?

Compensation awards for general damages are set by the Judicial College (formerly the Judicial Studies Board) in their frequently-updated guidelines for personal injury awards. These awards are calculated in relation to the nature and severity of an injury. They are set out in the form of upper and lower values for a specific injury.

While the Judicial College guidelines are suggested amounts rather than legally binding their suggestions are generally followed. Most insurance companies will, when calculating a settlement amount, also refer to the guidelines.

Compensation could also be claimed for existing conditions or earlier injuries that have worsened as a result of the accident or illness.

Most common causes of neck injury

Photo Credit: Erica T

The most common cause of neck injury is through car accidents. The sudden acceleration (then deceleration on impact) causes the head and neck to be forced forward and then back in what is commonly known as "whiplash".

Whiplash claims have come been somewhat demonised by insurers and politicians over recent years. Whatever the legitimacy of their argument, there is no doubt that neck injuries, whatever the cause, can be extremely painful or even debilitating. Whiplash injuries can also be sustained on a motorcycle of bicycle.

Neck injuries from surgical or neck handling errors can amount to a claim for medical negligence. Misdiagnosis where a patient's neck fracture are common in A&E departments.

Neck injuries at work are quite common when people fall following a slip or trip or in lifting accidents.

Making a successful claim

To be eligible to make a compensation claim, the accident will need to have caused the injury in question, and have occurred within the previous 3 years as the result of another's actions or negligence.

The injury solicitor must prove that the Defendant owed you a duty of care and the injuries you have sustained were due to the accident. In some cases, it may not be immediately obvious who is responsible for the accident. If you are uncertain who was responsible for the accident, it may still be possible to claim.

A person can still be compensated for a neck injury if responsibility for the accident or injury is shared by both sides. A split liability agreement will frequently be used to resolve these situations.

How compensation could help you

It is recognised by the Courts that a neck injury can have serious consequences. General and special damages are typically awarded for:

  1. medical treatment and care costs
  2. anticipated future treatment and care
  3. other expenses including travel costs and potentially property damage
  4. loss or reduction of mental or physical capacity
  5. general pain and suffering
  6. lost earnings during recovery
  7. loss of earnings if unable to return to work

Do I have a claim for a neck injury?

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Where the other side has accepted fault - you have a very strong chance. If liability is only partly accepted or contested it may be more difficult to win.

Your solicitor will help gather evidence with a view to putting together the strongest claim. If you can, the following will help:

  • gather statements and contact details from witnesses
  • take photos of the scene
  • report the accident to the appropriate authorities

Understanding No Win, No Fee arrangements

No Win, No Fee agreements, also called Conditional Fee Agreements (CFAs), are the basis of the majority of injury claims.

A CFA sets out the work your case handler delivers and, most significantly, a success fee that will be taken from your compensation award when your case is won.

Working with a Quittance solicitor, you can focus on recovery and rehabilitation, knowing that there is nothing whatsoever to pay if your case is unsuccessful and you will never be out of pocket.

Road traffic accident case study

Claimant awarded £2,350 for whiplash injuries View case study