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.
If your injuries were caused by another driver, cyclist, pedestrian or any other road user, you may be entitled to claim compensation.
Claiming injury compensation with a solicitor
You can make a road injury compensation claim with the help and support of a personal injury solicitor.
Your solicitor will ask you about how the road accident happened, and they will collect evidence to prove what caused your injuries. Your solicitor will also work out how much money you can claim, based on your injuries, lost earnings and other expenses.
By law, all drivers must have insurance to cover the cost of injury compensation claims. Even if you were injured by an unisured or untraceable road user, a claim may still be possible.
We can help you make a road accident claim on a No Win No Fee basis.
In this article
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 an injury claim?
As a basic rule, you will be eligible to make an injury claim if your injury happened:
- in the last 3 years, and;
- someone else was at fault, and;
- that person owed you a duty of care.
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.
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.
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 an injury claim on their own behalf.
Low value injury claims - Updated March 2022
The regulations for making a lower-value road accident claim (sometimes called 'small claims') have changed.
From 31 May 2021, some lower-value injury claims should be made using the Ministry of Justice's new Official Injury Claim Service online portal.
If you were injured in a vehicle, and the general damages for your injuries are likely to be under £5,000, the Official portal will be used to make your claim. The portal should also be used if the total value (general damages and special damages) for your claim is less than £10,000.
Claims for cyclists, motorcyclists, pedestrians and children are not affected by the new regulations.
The new process can be daunting, and we are here to help. You can still use a solicitor to calculate the value of your compensation and to help you make a low value claim through the portal.
No Win, No Fee compensation for low value injury claims
Some solicitors are no longer assisting with lower-value claims, but we can still help you make a No Win, No Fee compensation claim for a lower-value road accident claim.
The amount of money you could claim for your injury will depend on:
- the seriousness 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 injuries have affected your life. Your solicitor will take these considerations into account to calculate the correct compensation award.
This calculation will factor in 'general damages' and 'special 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 are for financial losses and expenses you have incurred as a result of the accident.
What can I claim for after an injury? (see list)
Examples of special damages (losses you can claim for) include:
- Lost earnings (including future earnings)
- Medical treatment costs
- 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.
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 an injury claim?
The Judicial College injury tables give a approximate idea of the ranges awarded for different injuries.
However, the money you would receive following an injury will depend entirely on your specific circumstances.
Your injury compensation will be calculated based on the unique impact your injuries have had on your life and your ability to work, and on the actual financial losses you have incurred as a result of your injuries.
Should I set up a personal injury trust?
If you are receiving means-tested benefits and are awarded compensation following a delayed whiplash injury, your benefits could be affected. In order to ring fence your compensation and protecting your benefits, you may be able to set up a "Personal Injury Trust" or "PI Trust". Read more: Should I set up a personal injury trust?
Calculate my injury compensation
Calculating how much compensation you can claim for an 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 injury claim could be worth now:
- Instant accurate calculation
- Checks your right to claim
- Confirms No Win, No Fee eligibility
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, 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?
How else can a solicitor help me?
Your solicitor will handle your injury claim from the initial FREE case evaluation, through to the financial settlement.
Your solicitor will work with other specialists to provide caring and sensitive support and 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.
Will I have to go to court?
Highly unlikely. Solicitors settle the vast majority of claims out of court.
Less than 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 decided by a judge or magistrate, not a jury.
Even if the claim does go to court, it is very unlikely you will have to attend.
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 .
No win, no fee - our guarantee
If you have been injured through no fault of your own, our no win, no fee guarantee takes the risk out of making an injury compensation claim. Read more about making a No win, no fee claim
What do I pay if I win my injury 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 injury claim?
If your injury 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.
How we can help you
Your solicitor will fight for the best possible compensation settlement for you, and 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
- 9.30am to 5pm on Sunday
Call us for FREE advice on 0800 376 1001, or arrange a call back from a friendly, legally-trained advisor:
- Find out
if you can claim
- No obligation
to start a claim
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.
Can I claim if I feel I was partly responsible for my accident?
Yes. You may still be able to claim compensation even if your actions may have contributed to the accident.
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.
How long do I have to make an injury claim?
In general, you have a time limit of up to 3 years from the date of the injury to make an injury claim.
The last date you can make a claim is known as the claim limitation date - after which your injury claim becomes 'statute barred'.
Can I claim for an injury 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 376 1001 to find out if you are still able to claim injury compensation.
In reality, there are a number of factors that can affect whether a car accident claim will be taken on by a solicitor.
Will I have to visit a solicitor's office to start a claim?
No. You will not need visit a solicitor's office. Personal injury claims are handled by email, post and phone.
Should you need to have a medical, this will be arranged at a medical centre near you or at your GP's surgery.
I need the money now - what are my options?
If you are unable to work and have bills to pay, you may be able to claim an interim compensation payment.
An interim payment is an advance on your compensation payment. Any amount you receive in interim payments would be deducted from your final compensation payment.
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.