The average compensation for whiplash claims

2013 Update:
If you have been involved in an accident and would like an idea of the compensation that you may be entitled to, please jump to our ‘Compensation Claims For Whiplash’ section below.

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If you have suffered a whiplash injury, the damage to your neck can have many negative effects on your life. Depending on the severity of your whiplash, you may:

  • Be unable to work
  • Be unable to drive
  • Suffer from difficulty breathing
  • Have problems sleeping due to neck pain
  • Be unable to lift heavy items
  • Have to stop taking part in activities such as sports
  • Feel depressed and anxious
  • Have neck, back or shoulder pain for days, weeks, months, or even years.

If you suffered the injury due to someone else’s negligence or malicious behaviour, you may be entitled to compensation. While this will not take away the pain you have suffered, it should cover the cost of treatment and provide you with some sort of pay back for the inconvenience, suffering and financial expense you have experienced.

Of course, when you are suffering from the neck pain caused by a whiplash injury, the amount of compensation you will receive is often low on your list of immediate concerns. But it is important that you have a good idea of the sort of compensation amounts that have been awarded, so that you can plan your finances accordingly.

Compensation Awards for Whiplash

In England and Wales, the amount of money that is awarded as compensation for whiplash claims is based on the information provided by the Judicial Studies Board. This organisation is independent from the government and is responsible for the justice system.

For whiplash claims, the amount of compensation varies, but usually falls within the following (approximate) amounts:

  • £750 – £4000 for ‘minor’ whiplash injuries (recovery is made within 2 years)
  • £4000-£13500 for ‘moderate’ whiplash injuries that took longer to recover, and may have contributed to other complications. The higher amounts in this category are usually awarded if surgery is required or there are permanent symptoms.

If you have suffered from an extremely severe whiplash injury that has caused permanent disability or loss of neck movement, you may be awarded much more. This will vary from case to case and is dependent on the impact the injury has had on your life.

As with all types of personal injury, each case is decided individually in court, and so there can be no guarantee of the level of compensation. The judge will decide the appropriate amount based on the level awarded in previous, similar cases, and the latest guidelines from the Judicial Studies Board.

Remember that these amounts are just the compensation awards for your actual injury – you may also be able to claim damages.

Claiming Damages for Extra Costs

To make a claim for whiplash, you are going to need a medical report. So even if you only have a very minor injury, you are out of pocket straightaway. The cost of getting to a hospital or doctor’s surgery, plus parking, plus any prescribed drugs or treatment is going to hit you in the pocket through no fault of your own. Also consider that while you are doing this, you may be missing work.

If your injury is more severe, these types of costs are going to increase, as you may need to make repeated trips to medical centres and pay for parking fees, treatment costs, and any special aids.

Thankfully, you can claim for a wide range of these costs as damages, which, if awarded, will be paid in addition to your compensation.

Insurance Company Settlement Offers for Whiplash

With your whiplash case, it is quite likely that you will be claiming against the insurance of another person or company. Sometimes, the insurance company will contact you and offer a settlement amount, which you can choose to accept or can decline.

The insurance company make the offer because they accept that a court is likely to rule in your favour. So, for them, it is more cost effective to make you an offer and avoid the additional costs involved with a court case.

If you receive an offer, you should consider it carefully. The offer may be lower than what you would receive as a likely compensation amount, but it will also be paid without having to deal with the stress of a court case.

A good whiplash specialist solicitor will be able to advise you on what sort of compensation is a realistic amount, and whether the insurance company’s offer is appropriate. For more advice, feel free to with a member of the whiplash claims team today.

About the author Claire Lamb

I am a personal injury lawyer, specialising in compensation claims for whiplash injuries and road traffic accidents. Please do get in touch if you would like to speak with a member of my team.