If a whiplash injury has set you back, we'll help you move forward

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

If your injuries were caused by someone else's actions or negligence, you may be entitled to claim compensation.

You can make a No Win, No Fee whiplash compensation claim with the help and support of a personal injury solicitor.

With 200,000 whiplash and soft tissue NHS admissions each year, you are not alone

In 2021-22, the NHS reported 216,741 admissions for whiplash and other soft tissue injuries (digital.nhs.uk).

Whiplash is a neck injury caused by a sudden movement of the head forward, backward, or sideways.

Whiplash symptoms include neck pain and stiffness. Whiplash affects people in different ways, and the pain can be severe in some cases.

Symptoms can be delayed, sometimes manifesting days after an accident.

If you are looking for information on whiplash symptoms and treatment, see: Whiplash (nhs.uk).

Am I entitled to make a whiplash claim?

In general, you can claim compensation if you were hurt:

  • in the last 3 years, and;
  • another person or organisation was to blame, and;
  • they owed you duty of care.

Use our injury claim calculator to find out if you can claim. Or you can call 0800 376 1001 to speak to a specialist advisor. Find out in minutes if you have a claim.

My injury was partly my fault - can I still claim?

Cases where the defendant and claimant are both partly to blame are actually quite commonplace in personal injury claims.

In our 2024 Road Injury Claimant Survey, 5.24% of injured road users believed they were partly responsible for their injuries, or were uncertain.

You may still be able to claim compensation even if your actions may have contributed to the accident. Claims where there is fault on both sides (contributory negligence) are often resolved with a split liability agreement.

Read more:

Can I claim if I feel I was partly responsible for my accident?

How long do I have to start a whiplash claim?

An injury claim will usually need to be made within 3 years of the date or your accident or injury.

For injured children, a claim can be started by a parent or guardian at any time before they turn 18. Thereafter, the injured individual has until their 21st birthday to make a claim on their own.

How much compensation can I claim for a whiplash injury?

How much you can receive for a whiplash claim 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 whiplash has affected your life. Your solicitor will take all of these effects into account to calculate the correct compensation award for you.

Whiplash injury compensation calculator

Get an accurate compensation estimate (including for multiple injuries), confirm your legal position, and check if you have a No Win, No Fee claim.

Updated April 2024 Compensation Calculator v3.04

General damages

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

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

How is compensation calculated if I have multiple injuries?

Special damages

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

A complete list of recoverable losses in a personal injury claim

Psychological trauma following a road accident

Some degree of psychological trauma following a road accident is normal. Where symptoms are long-lasting or having a debilitating affect on your life, additional help and support is available.

According to our 2024 Road Injury Claimant Survey, 32.47% of injured road users suffered a psychological injury, 78.53% of these alongside a physical injury.

Whiplash caused by rear-end collisions can trigger anxiety about being in traffic. The pain associated with whiplash can lead to a phobia of movement (also known as fear-avoidance behavior or FAB), exacerbating physical recovery.

Claiming general damages for mental and emotional distress can help provide access to mental health care and therapies, some of which might not be available through the NHS.

Our compensation calculator can estimate your compensation for psychological injuries. Or you can call us on 0800 376 1001 to speak to a specialist advisor.

Changes to the small injury claims limits

On 31 May 2021, the government changed the process for handling lower value road traffic accident (RTA) claims. The small claims court limit was raised to £5,000 for most car accident claims, and to £10,000 including both general damages and special damages. (the changes do not affect children, pedestrians, cyclists or motorcyclists.

If your whiplash claim is valued at under this new threshold, you can make a claim without legal representation through the Ministry of Justice's Official Injury Claim Portal.

Before you take any steps, however, we recommend that you find out what your claim may be worth first with our injury claim calculator. Alternatively, you can speak to a solicitor on 0800 376 1001 who will set out your options and advise you on the best course of action, including making a claim yourself through the portal, if appropriate.

Read more about the small claims process here:

Small or low value injury compensation claims

Whiplash general damages compensation amounts

In addition to the new small-claims limits, the government has set out a revised lower tariff of compensation amounts for soft tissue injuries like whiplash. Compensation awards for these injuries have been lowered considerably.

For example, compensation for a whiplash-only injury lasting less than 3 months has been reduced from £2,000 to £240. The following whiplash payouts refer to the Guidelines for the Assessment of General Damages in Personal Injury Cases, Sixteenth Edition by the Judicial College.

Duration Pre-31 May New amount New amount with psychological harm*
Less than 3 months £300 to £1,950 £240 £260
3 to 6 months £1,950 to £3,470 £495 £520
6 to 9 months £1,950 to £3,470 £840 £895
9 to 12 months £1,950 to £3,470 £1,320 £1,390
12 to 15 months £3,470 to £6,290 £2,040 £2,125
15 to 18 months £3,470 to £6,290 £3,005 £3,100
18 to 24 months £3,470 to £6,290 £4,215 £4,435

*Additional compensation is awarded if the whiplash injury is accompanied by minor psychological issues caused by the same accident. These figures represent general damages only, and do not include any element of special damages (e.g. lost wages.

What should I do if I think I have whiplash?

The first thing to do is to seek immediate medical attention. Whiplash can lead to severe and long-term injury if not treated appropriately. You may also have other injuries that are not immediately apparent.

Medical attention is also a critical part of the whiplash claims process. A formal medical diagnosis will support your compensation claim.

If you are involved in a road accident, you should report the accident to the police as soon as possible. A police report will provide useful supporting evidence.

Do I need a whiplash diagnosis before making a claim?

Minor cases of whiplash are often treated with painkillers. An injured person may not even feel they need to see a doctor.

For the purposes of a compensation claim, however, your solicitor will refer you to a medical expert to carry out a medical assessment, which will be carried out at a location near you.

Following the assessment, the doctor will confirm the whiplash diagnosis in a medical report. This report will offer critical evidence in support of your claim.

X-rays and scans are not usually required as soft-tissue injuries will not often be visible. It is advisable to always seek the advice of a medical professional as soon as possible after the accident as possible.

Read more:

Whiplash injuries (nhs.uk)

Can I claim for delayed whiplash?

Many people who suffer from whiplash experience no symptoms until days after the accident.

The delay may relate to the initial shock from the collision, as adrenaline often negates the pain immediately after the crash. Symptoms can then present themselves 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.

If you felt fine at the time of the accident, you might think that you won't be believed if you complain of whiplash some days later. Doctors and medical professionals understand delayed whiplash, so you should not be deterred from seeking medical attention when you start to experience delayed symptoms.

How long does a whiplash claim take?

The time needed to get compensation for whiplash can vary significantly.

A straightforward liability accepted injury claim could be completed in a couple of months. If the defendant denies liability, the process might take longer. Typically, an injury claim takes between 4 and 9 months.

No win, no fee whiplash injury compensation claims

With no win, no fee, you can claim whiplash injury compensation without financial risk. If your claim isn't successful, you pay nothing. If you win, you only pay a pre-agreed percentage of your compensation.

Find out more about how no win, no fee claims work

How did your injury happen?

Whiplash claims are usually categorised as road traffic accident (RTA) claims. Click on the icons below to learn more:

How we can help you with your injury claim

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 injury claims.

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If you have any questions, or would like to start a No Win No Fee injury claim, we are open:

Mon-Fri 8am-9pm, Sat 9am-6pm, Sun 9:30am-5pm

Call us for FREE advice on 0800 376 1001, or arrange a call back from a friendly, legally-trained advisor:

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Case study

Rakhi Chauhan secures £80,000 following a road collision with a lorry

Read more case studies

FAQ's

Should I deal directly with the insurer?

Although you can deal directly with the defendant's insurance company, there are risks to this approach.

The most significant danger is that you under-settle your claim. For example, this could leave you unable to fund a full course of physio, delaying your recovery, or could cause financial difficulties if you have to take out a loan to make up the shortfall.

What if I was partly to blame?

Even at the scene of an accident, it is not always obvious which driver was responsible for the crash.

In cases where responsibility for an accident or injury is shared by both sides, it should still be possible to claim whiplash compensation. These compensation claims are usually resolved with a split liability agreement.

You will likely still be awarded some compensation, but the final amount will be reduced. If the court decides that you were 25% responsible for your injuries, for example, you will receive 25% 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) (mib.org.uk).

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

Read more:

I don't know who caused my accident

Claiming compensation through the MIB

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.

Will I have to go to court?

Highly unlikely. The vast majority of claims that are settled by Quittance’s 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.

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

No. You will not need to 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.

Can I make a claim as a passenger?

Yes. From the point of view of making a whiplash claim, whether you were driving or were a passenger is immaterial. What matters is that you were injured, and that it was not your fault.

Who pays the whiplash claim compensation?

Road traffic accident claims are usually settled by the defendant's insurance company. If the defendant does not have insurance (or is untraceable), claimants can apply to the Motor Insurers Bureau' (MIB).

Can I make a claim if the symptoms have cleared up?

Yes. You can, if you obtained medical attention at the time and this corroborates your injury. It will usually be necessary to obtain copies of any supporting medical evidence.

Can I make a claim if there was no damage to the car?

Yes. Whiplash can be sustained in a low-speed collision where there is no vehicle damage. It is also possible to sustain injuries where there is no collision at all, e.g. when a driver is forced to brake suddenly.

For example, a negligent driver's conduct may cause another road user to perform an emergency stop. A collision may be avoided, but the abrupt braking could well cause a whiplash injury, particularly if your vehicle was travelling at speed.

Can I make a claim if I wasn't wearing a seatbelt?

Yes. It is still possible to make a claim if you were not wearing a seat belt.

However, it is assumed that you have contributed to the seriousness of your injuries. This is known as contributory negligence. Your compensation award will be reduced (often by around 25%). This is to reflect the amount of compensation you would have got, if you had worn a seat belt and, therefore, received less serious injuries.

Interim compensation payments for whiplash

An interim payment is when you receive a part-payment of your whiplash compensation before the claim has been finally settled.

These payments can be arranged if your whiplash injury means you are:

  • Unable to work, or,
  • Unable to pay for treatment (such as physiotherapy)

In order for an interim payment to be paid, your whiplash claim must meet certain criteria.

Can I make a claim if I had no insurance?

Maybe. As a passenger, you can make a whiplash claim without insurance. This is because in most cases, compensation is paid out by the negligent driver's insurance company, not your own.

If you are a driver involved in an accident that was not your fault and you do not have insurance, the situation is more complicated. Driving without valid insurance is an offence. Whether you can still make a claim will depend on the facts of the case.

How long does a whiplash claim take?

How fast a whiplash claim will reach a settlement will depend on a number of factors.

Compared to other types of accident claim, whiplash claims for road accidents are usually quick to resolve. The quickest whiplash claim could pay out in a matter of weeks, with most resolving within four months.

Should I claim whiplash compensation through my insurance?

When you make a personal injury claim for whiplash (or any other injury that occurs as the result of a road accident) the claim is usually handled by the negligent driver's insurance company.

In these circumstances, your car insurance coverage you have should not be affected.

What the insurance companies do not want you to know

Recent research by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has revealed claimants get on average three times more compensation if they:

  • Turn down an insurance company's initial offer, and,
  • Instruct a special solicitor

This information was only available publicly as a result of a Freedom of Information Act challenge.

Knock-for-knock whiplash claims

If both sides admit some degree of fault, or there is no agreement as to who caused an accident, the insurance companies of the two drivers may agree to settle the case on a knock for knock basis.

This means that compensation is paid out by each driver's own insurer, not the other side.

Knock-for-knock saves insurance companies money in legal fees, and will resolve the matter faster, but it can affect drivers own claim history and future premiums.

For this reason, the practice may be seen by some as unfair, benefiting the insurers more than it does the innocent party.

Whiplash pre-medical offers

Insurance companies may sometimes make a settlement offer known as a pre-medical offer.

How do I find the best whiplash claim company or lawyer for my case?

In theory, whiplash compensation claim payouts should not depend on the claim company or whiplash solicitor you choose. That said, some whiplash lawyers may recommend you process your claim quickly, so you can receive your whiplash compensation faster.

Other solicitors may recommend that you wait until you are fully recovered, to ensure you receive the maximum whiplash compensation for your injury.

Can I make a claim as a car passenger?

Yes. From the point of view of making a claim, whether you were driving or were a passenger is immaterial. What matters is that you were injured, and that it was not your fault.

Can I make a claim if there was no damage to the car?

Yes. Injuries can be sustained in a low-speed collision where there is no vehicle damage. It is even possible to sustain injuries where there is no collision at all, e.g. when a driver is forced to brake suddenly.

For example, a negligent driver's conduct may cause another road user to perform an emergency stop. A collision may be avoided, but the abrupt braking could well cause a whiplash injury, particularly if your vehicle was travelling at speed.

Can I make a claim if I wasn't wearing a seatbelt?

Yes. It is still possible to make a claim if you were not wearing a seat belt.

However, it would likely be assumed that you contributed to the seriousness of your injuries. This is known as contributory negligence. Your compensation award will be reduced (often by around 25%). This is to reflect the amount of compensation you would have got, if you had worn a seat belt and, therefore, received less serious injuries.

What should I do if my car insurer wants me to claim through them?

Some insurance companies have tried to deter genuine road traffic accident claimants from claiming the full compensation to which they are entitled. Insurance companies do not want you to make a claim and will try to minimise the compensation paid out if you do claim.

If you have already been contacted by an insurance company offering to deal directly with your road accident claim, remember that most insurance companies are responsible to their shareholders, not to you as the injured person.

Instructing an expert road accident solicitor gives you the peace of mind that you have an independent specialist on your side.

A solicitor has a duty of care to you, their client, and will seek to obtain the maximum amount of compensation for the harm that has been done.

If you pursue your claim through a solicitor you have the added reassurance of being represented by a professional regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA).

Can I claim if I had no insurance?

Maybe. As a car passenger, you can make a claim without car insurance. This is because in most cases, compensation is paid out by the negligent car driver's insurance company, not your own.

If you are a driver involved in an accident that was not your fault and you do not have insurance, the situation is more complicated. Driving without valid insurance is an offence. Whether you can still make a claim will depend on the facts of the case.

Citations

Source: (reviewed: 12/12/2023)

Source: (reviewed: 11/12/2023)

Gaynor Haliday, Legal researcher

Author:
Gaynor Haliday, Legal researcher