Whiplash injuries – legal advice

When bringing a claim for a whiplash you are obliged to prove that your suffering is a
result of the accident and that you were not at fault for it. To do this you will require
the assistance of a personal injury solicitor, who will investigate your case, arrange
for medical evidence to be produced and will take statements from you, all other
occupants of the vehicle and any witnesses of the accident.

If liability is admitted, or it can be proved that the other side was negligent, then your
solicitor can negotiate the actual amount of compensation you are entitled to for your
injury. If the other party (or rather their insurance agency) cannot agree on a
settlement amount then the case might have to be taken to court. Any court claim
has to be issued within three years of the date of the accident (or by their 21st
birthday in the case of a child) and thus one should remember to appoint a personal
injury solicitor soon after the accident in case litigation is necessary.

Personal injury solicitors will most likely work on your case on a no win no fee
agreement, more formally known as a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA).
Accordingly, if you appoint a personal injury solicitor to help you with your case you
will not have to pay your legal fees if you lose. Should you win, your legal fees will be
paid by the negligent party’s insurance company.

Whiplash – claiming compensation

If you have fallen victim to a whiplash injury then you might be entitled to make a
claim for compensation, particularly if it occurred in a road traffic accident, as it is
road users’ duty to care towards the health and safety of other drivers.

The amount of compensation you could receive for your injury will vary depending on
the its seriousness (including recovery time). Government guidelines and the amount
of compensation that has been awarded by the courts in previously decided whiplash
injury claims are also being taken into account.

One can also claim for any consequential loss that has occurred, such as
prescriptions costs, physiotherapy, damage to clothing or property and any form of
present or future loss of income.

How to spot a whiplash injury

As you might already know, road traffic accidents are one of the most common
incidents and at the same time one of the main sources of whiplash injuries. It is
worth noting that the whiplash is caused by the neck (or head) being extended or
even strained beyond its regular range of movement resulting from sudden jolt. Due
to this, the ligaments, tendons and muscles in the neck become damaged.
Not only severe accidents result in a whiplash. Soft collisions and other minor road
traffic accidents can also result in a whiplash injury

Common symptoms of whiplash are as follows:
 Stiff or painful neck
 Loss of movement
 Headaches
 Muscles spasms
 Shoulder pain
 Painful arms
 Back pain

The symptoms of this injury can present themselves immediately or they can take
hours or even days to appear, therefore you should seek medical advice as soon as
you are involved in any road accident. The recovery time for whiplash injuries varies
depending on the force of the impact and body composition- It ranges from a few
weeks to several months and in the most serious cases can take up to a few years.

How to prepare a personal injury court claim

There are a couple of things that a claim form must include, they are:

 A concise statement of the nature of the claim – This has to include if the claim
is bought under negligence (for example where another driver fails to brake
and hits the back of your car causing an injury) or breach of a statutory duty,
(for example a case, in which a local council fails to maintain the pavements
as they are obliged to do by law).

 The remedy sought – This should specify exactly what you want to get out of
the claim. Most likely it will be compensation for the injuries suffered. In
appropriate cases it might also be possible to state the exact amount sought
however this is not a necessity. Should you be able to specify the precise
amount then (assuming that the other party does not engage in litigation) you
might be able to get a default judgment. A court may grant a remedy if they
recognize the claimant as entitled to it even if not specified on the claim form.

 A statement of value (claims for money) – The Claimant should state the exact
amount of money sought for the injuries or the approximate threshold (under
£5,000, between £5,000 and £25,000 or over £25,000). If the claim is for pain,
suffering and loss of amenity the Claimant is to state whether that component
is likely to be worth more or less than £1,000.

 The interest accrued on a specific sum sought – the amount of interest on the
sum sought (if possible).

 Other matters required – Some of the rules regarding filling a claim form include
that a Claimant is to provide their full address and the names of both parties
are to be contained in the claim form heading. To ensure that all rules have
been abided by consult your personal injury lawyer.

 A particulars of claim or statement that this will follow – these are a concise
summary of all the facts on which a Claimant relies, each with their own
separate rules. A copy must either be served with the claim form or within 14
days( if so, a statement to that effect must be included).

 A statement of truth – An essential declaration by the Claimant that the contents
of the form are true. It is signed by either the Claimant themselves or their
legal representative. A failure to include a statement of truth could result in the
end of a claim.

Accident types

During our everyday life each of us is vulnerable to different types of accidents,
without even knowing about it. Here are the most popular incident types, which some
of us might have experienced:

Road Accidents
If one has been involved in a Road Traffic Accident as a driver, passenger, rider,
pillion or pedestrian and suffered wounds or injuries, for example whip lash, which is
a common result of even the least dangerous car accidents, they might be entitled to
claim compensation. Insurance is a legal requirement for road and because of this
insurers are obliged to always pay compensation where liability can be established.

Having a Fall
Should one slip or even fall in a public place or on private land and suffer injuries as
a result, they are by all means able to make a compensation claim, provided that
liability can be established against the responsible party.

Accidents at Work
In UK having a "Employers Liability Insurance" is a legal requirement for all
Employers. It covers them should an employee get injured in the workplace. If a
person has been wounded in a work accident, they are allowed to claim
compensation (where there is proof that the Employer has failed to take reasonable
steps to prevent the injury).

Accidents – Rule of Thumb
If a person has suffered a wound or injury where it can be proven that another 'party'
(most likely a person) has been negligent and as a result has caused the other
person suffering, they may be entitled to claim compensation with the help of
personal injury lawyers.

Personal injury court claim – basics

Starting a claim
With the availability of no win no fee it is a good practice to consult every single case
with specialist personal injury solicitors, and we can certainly help for helping with
personal injury claims is our specialty. Should you decide you want to do it alone,
below is the basic starting point for making a claim.
When starting a claim for an accident (where you are not at fault) the first step is to
request a claim from the court, which officially begins the proceedings. The next step
is to fill out the apropriate form, which is then lodged with the court and given to the
other party. Whether you are suing a number of people or the same person for a
number of things a single claim form can be used so long as the claims are linked in
some way.
How quickly do I need to act?
Once the claim form has been issued by a court the Claimant is to complete it and
serve it on the other side within 4 months. It is worth remembering that the time limit
is strict and by midnight on the calendar day four months after issuing the
compensation form, the Claimant needs to have either:
 Posted it (first class) to the Respondent;
 Left it with the Respondent;
 Delivered it to the Respondent;
 Had it collected by a delivery service;
 Transmitted it by fax to the Respondent;
 Sent it by e-mail to the Respondent.
Has the time limit expired, an application must be made to the court to extend the
time limit.