Delayed Whiplash Compensation Claims

If your life, or the life of a loved one, has been affected by a delayed whiplash injury we can help.

The purpose of this guide is to help anyone who has suffered a delayed whiplash injury and is considering a legal claim for compensation. If you are looking for medical advice, please see the NHS website.

In our guide to claiming delayed whiplash compensation:

Introduction

Whiplash is one of the most common injuries sustained in road traffic accidents.Many people who suffer from whiplash find that they feel no pain at the time of the car accident, but symptoms develop several days later.

Causes of delayed whiplash

In some cases, the delay may relate to the initial shock from the collision. Adrenalin often causes people not to feel pain immediately after a collision, but the pain can increase as the shock subsides.

The pain experienced from whiplash is similar to delayed onset muscle soreness which people often experience after exercise. The muscle pain occurs once the body begins to repair itself, rather than at the time of the activity. Whiplash pains can be felt in the neck, shoulders and back depending on the severity of the collision.

Medical professionals take delayed whiplash seriously

If someone confirms that they feel fine at the time of the accident, they often think that they will not be believed if they complain of whiplash some days later.

Doctors and medical professionals understand that the symptoms of whiplash might not present themselves until a few days, or even weeks later.

How are delayed whiplash claims processed?

Road traffic accidents are processed through the Road Traffic Accident Protocol. Notification of the claim is sent to the other side, the defendant, who then has 15 working days to respond with admission or denial of liability.This strict time line makes the initial claim a quick and simple process.

Ensuring that the correct amount of compensation is claimed is important. Whiplash claims are judged on the severity and longevity of the injury, and on the impact the injury has had on your life.It is recommended that medical advice is sought as soon as possible to understand the extent of the injury.

Expecting a quick recovery, many people affected by whiplash don't realise the severity of their injury until they have spent some time living with pain and restricted mobility.

Quality of life

If you have delayed whiplash symptoms, the injury could affect your quality of life for an extended period of time.

Depending on your lifestyle, age and career, whiplash could prevent you from engaging in certain activities while you recover. Compensation can also be sought for this loss.

You solicitor will assist you to ensure that you are diagnosed correctly, and will help to make a claim for the correct amount of compensation.

Do I have a delayed whiplash claim?

As a basic rule, you will be eligible to make a delayed whiplash claim if your injury happened:

  • in the last three years, and;
  • someone else was at fault, and;
  • that person owed you a duty of care.
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Injury claim eligibility - Common questions

What if the road accident was my fault?

If you think you were partly responsible for the road accident or for your injury, it should still be possible to make a claim.

In these cases, claims are usually settled with a split liability agreement.

For example, if you were 50% responsible for your injuries, you would receive 50% less compensation.

Read more about when there is uncertainty as to who is to blame.

What if the driver was uninsured or untraceable?

If the driver responsible for the injury is either uninsured or untraceable, a claim can be pursued through the Motor Insurers' Bureau (MIB).

The MIB is an independent body that pays road accident compensation to the victims of uninsured or untraced (unidentified) drivers.

Read more

What if a child was injured?

The 3 year rule does not apply to minors.

A claim can be pursued for anyone under the age of 18 by a parent, guardian or litigation friend. The injured child has up to the age of 21 to start a delayed whiplash claim on their own behalf.

Read more about claiming injury compensation on behalf of a child.

Do I need a diagnosis to make a delayed whiplash claim?

If you have been injured and are awaiting the results, you should still seek legal advice as soon as possible. The sooner you start a delayed whiplash claim after an accident, the more likely your claim is to succeed.

Can I still make a delayed whiplash claim after three years?

In general, a delayed whiplash claim can only be made outside of the three-year limit if you were injured as a child and are still under 21, you were diagnosed within the last three years with a health condition that was caused by historic exposure, or you were fundamentally unable to make a claim within the three-year window, due to incapacity.

How much compensation can I claim for delayed whiplash?

The amount of money you could claim for your delayed whiplash will depend on:

  • the extent of your injury, and
  • any financial losses or costs you have incurred.

At the start of your claim, your solicitor will consider the many ways your delayed whiplash has affected your life. Your solicitor will take all of these effects into account to calculate the correct compensation award for you.

This calculation will factor in 'general damages' and 'special damages'.

General damages

General damages are awarded for pain, suffering and loss of amenity (PSLA).

Awards for general damages are set by the Judicial College and published in their guidelines for personal injury awards.

Special damages

Special damages are for financial losses and expenses you have incurred as a result of the accident.

What can I claim for after a delayed whiplash? (see list)

Examples of special damages (losses you can claim for) include:

  • Lost earnings (including future earnings)
  • Medical treatment costs
  • Physiotherapy
  • Travel costs
  • Costs of care
  • Costs of adapting your home or car

How is compensation calculated if I have multiple injuries?

If you have sustained multiple injuries, the compensation amounts are not simply added together.

The upper bracket of the most serious injury may be considered as a starting point, with a reduced amount applied for the other less severe injuries.

For example:

General damages for a serious shoulder injury can be £15,000

For a more minor ankle injury, in isolation, you would typically receive £7,000.

However, if you have a serious shoulder injury and a more minor ankle injury, you would typically receive £15,000 + a reduced percentage of £7,000.

Special damages, such as loss of earnings are not usually increased if you have multiple injuries. Read more about multiple injury claims.

What is the average injury compensation for a delayed whiplash claim?

The Judicial College injury tables give a approximate idea of the ranges awarded for different injuries.

However, the money you would receive following a delayed whiplash will depend entirely on your specific circumstances.

Your delayed whiplash compensation will be calculated based on the unique impact your injuries have had on your life, your ability to work, and the actual financial losses you have incurred as a result of your injuries.

Can I claim for prescription costs?

Special damages?are awarded for costs or losses incurred as a result of the delayed whiplash injury. Damages can include loss of earnings, treatment cost and any other 'out-of-pocket' expenses such as prescriptions.?

Delayed whiplash compensation

Calculating how much compensation you can claim for a delayed whiplash injury can be complicated.

Our injury compensation calculator tells you if you may have a claim, how much compensation you could claim, and what you can claim for.

Find out what your delayed whiplash claim could be worth now:

Calculate compensation

How long does a delayed whiplash injury claim take?

How long it can take to process a delayed whiplash injury claim can vary considerably.

A simple uncontested road accident claim might be concluded in a matter of weeks. If liability is denied, however, a compensation claim can take considerably longer. On average a road accident claim will take 4 to 9 months. To read more about how long your claim could take, see: How long will my claim take?

Caring and sensitive support

Your solicitor will handle your delayed whiplash claim from the initial consultation through to the financial settlement. In addition, your solicitor will work with other specialists to help you with:

  • Financial support: interim payments while you are unable to work.
  • Advice: on personal injury trusts, tax and welfare benefits.
  • Coordination: with rehabilitation providers and therapists.
  • Access: to treatment and therapies not always available on the NHS.

No win, no fee - the facts

Under a no win, no fee agreement, your solicitor agrees that you will have no legal fees to pay whatsoever if you do not winn your claim .

Our no win, no fee promise

If you have been injured through no fault of your own, our no win, no fee guarantee takes the risk out of making a delayed whiplash injury compensation claim. Read more about making a No win, no fee claim

What do I pay if I win my delayed whiplash claim?

Your injury solicitor will receive a success fee which is deducted from your compensation, after your claim is settled. The solicitor's success fee can be up to 25%. You and your solicitor can agree the success fee before you start your claim.

What do I pay if I do not win my delayed whiplash claim?

If your delayed whiplash claim is not successful then you do not have to pay any legal fees at all. Your solicitor may take out insurance to ensure there will be nothing to pay.

Is there a penalty if I withdraw?

Under a No Win, No Fee Agreement (CFA), fees may apply if a claimant refuses to cooperate, or abandons their claim after the legal work has started, or if the claim is fraudulent.

How can Quittance help?

Your solicitor will fight for the best possible compensation settlement for you, the highly-experienced panel of solicitors have an excellent track record of winning road accident claims.

If you have any questions, or would like to start a No Win No Fee claim, we are open 8am to 9pm weekdays, 9am to 6pm on Saturday, and 9.30am to 5pm on Sunday.

Call us FREE 0800 612 7456 or arrange a callback:

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Delayed whiplash FAQ's

Can I claim for someone else?

Yes. In certain circumstances, it is possible to claim compensation on behalf of another person in the capacity of a 'litigation friend'.

If an injured person is either too young or vulnerable, too injured or otherwise unable to claim on their own behalf, their litigation friend can handle the claim process on behalf of the injured person.

The litigation friend will be responsible for communicating with the solicitors, and for making decisions in respect of the claim.

Read more about claiming on behalf of another person.

Can I claim if I was partly responsible for an accident?

You may still be able to claim compensation even if you contributed to your accident or to your injuries.

However, if you were partly to blame (known as contributory negligence), your compensation may be reduced and it may be more difficult to prove liability.

Read more about claiming compensation if you were partly responsible for an accident.

How long do I have to make a delayed whiplash claim?

In general, you have a time limit of up to 3 years from the date of the delayed whiplash to make an injury claim.

The last date you can make a claim is known as the claim limitation date - after which your delayed whiplash claim becomes 'statute barred'.

Can I claim for a delayed whiplash after 3 years?

Possibly. The general rule for adults is that a claim must be started within three years.

However, the three-year countdown starts on the day you learned of your injury or illness. This will usually be the date of the accident, but could be the date your doctor gave you a diagnosis.

If you were injured as a child, you do have up until your 21st birthday to make a claim.

There other circumstances that can also impact the limitation date. Call us now on 0800 612 7456 to find out if you are still able to claim delayed whiplash compensation.

In reality, there are a number of factors that can affect whether a car accident claim will be taken on by a solicitor.

Calculate your claim limitation date

Will I have to go to court?

Highly unlikely. The vast majority of claims that are settled by the solicitor panel are settled out of court.

Only a very small percentage (approx. 5%) of personal injury claims go to court. Generally, only very complex cases, or those where liability cannot be resolved, end up in court.

Cases that do ultimately go to court are held in front of a judge, not a jury.

Read more: Will my injury claim go to court and what if it does?

Will I have to go to a solicitor's office?

No. You will not need visit a solicitor's office. As with most professional services, it is no longer necessary to meet face to face with your solicitor. Personal injury claims are dealt with via email, post and telephone.

Should you need to have a medical, this will be arranged at a medical centre near you or at your GP's surgery.

Read more: Will I have to visit a solicitor's office?

Can I get an early compensation payment?

If you suffer financial hardship as a result of an injury, you may be able to claim an interim compensation payment.

An interim payment is a partial settlement of your claim which is paid before your claim is concluded. The amount you receive in interim payments would then be deducted from your final compensation settlement or award.

Read more about interim compensation payments.

Howard Willis, Personal injury solicitor

About the author

Howard qualified as a solicitor in 1984 and has specialised in personal injury for over 25 years. He is a member of the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL) and is a recognised Law Society Personal Injury Panel expert.

Read more about this Quittance Legal Expert