Whiplash Injuries | Claiming for Compensation

What is Whiplash - Synnott Lawline Solicitors

What is Whiplash Injury Claims

Has your life has been affected due to an accident caused by another party? If you have any questions, or would like to start a No Win No Fee claim, Talk to us today, we are here to help.

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What is Whiplash and what Causes it?

There are many ways you can suffer a whiplash injury, but car accident is the most common. Less common causes include: a punch to the head, football tackles and falls. Whiplash is often referred to as a neck sprain or neck strain – (hyperextension of the neck). It is an injury to the soft tissues of the neck and back and is defined as an injury caused by a severe jerk to the head, typically in a car accident in urban traffic accidents.

What are the Symptoms and How to know if you have a Whiplash Injury

While symptoms can take 6-12 hours to develop, they could keep getting worse for several days. It can take several hours for symptoms to develop after the neck injury. Difficulty moving your head because of neck pain, tenderness and stiffness are common. Neck ‘Strain’ (whiplash) is often confused with Neck ‘Sprain’. Neck strain or whiplash is caused by damage to the muscle or tendons (tissues that connect muscles to bones). Neck sprains, on the other hand, are caused by tearing of the ligaments (tissues that connect bones to each other). Having said that, the causes, symptoms and treatment of both neck strain and neck sprain are usually similar. Sometimes the pain of a whiplash injury is immediate but very often can take several hours or even days before the pain is noticed. Symptoms can include:

  • Decreased range of motion and tightness in the neck.
  • Muscles may feel firm or knotted.
  • Pain when rocking the head from side to side or backward and forward.
  • Stiffness when moving the head to look over the shoulder.
  • Headaches at the base of the skull radiating towards the forehead &  a tightening around the head and neck, followed by aches
  • Dizziness: a sensation of spinning and losing one’s balance.
  • Blurred vision: a lack of sharpness of vision resulting in the inability to see fine detail.
  • Lower back pain between the bottom of your ribcage down to the top of your legs
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Difficulty with concentration and/or memory.
  • Tinnitus: Ringing in the ears.
  • Tenderness, Irritability, Weariness, Insomnia
  • Numbness or weakness in the arms

What is the Average Whiplash Payout?

There are many factors which are taken into account when whiplash compensation is being calculated. The severity of the injury dictates the level of general damages paid, but Special Damages i.e. financial losses and how the injury has impacted your way of life can also make up a significant part of the claim. *Below Estimate of Figures – Personal Injuries Guidelines Sept 2022

Most Severe Neck Injuries –  €150,000 – €300,000

Neck injury associated with incomplete paraplegia or resulting in permanent spastic quadriparesis or where despite the wearing of a collar 24 hours a day for a period of years, the neck could still not move, and severe headaches have proved intractable.

Moderate Neck Injuries – €12,000 – €23,000

Injuries which may have accelerated and/or exacerbated a pre-existing condition over a shorter period of time, usually less than five years. This bracket will also apply to moderate soft tissue injuries where the period of recovery has been relatively protracted and where there remains an increased vulnerability to further trauma or permanent minimal symptoms.

Minor Neck Injuries – €500 – €12,000

The majority of whiplash injuries are classified as minor, with a recovery time of between a few months and two years.

How can I make a successful whiplash claim?

1. You must have suffered from a whiplash injury in no longer than the last 2 years. (Unless you are under 18, See Claiming for Children).
2. The accident must have been partially or fully caused by somebody else. You can also claim as a passenger.
3. Gather any evidence about the circumstances of the accident and your injury. Include photos, witnesses’ details from the incident or statements, as well as any medical reports.
4. You will need the Medical Report to support your claim before you can pursue it. Your whiplash injury will be proved with this report, it’s an assessment and diagnosis of the symptoms you are suffering from.
5. It’s best to see your doctor as soon as possible to receive the right treatment. Your treating doctor may also need you to go for an MRI, CT or X-Ray to confirm the diagnosis.

FAQs What you Need to know about Claiming for Whiplash
  • Is it hard to Claim for Whiplash?

    The Irish court system in assessing damages are not bound by the figures published in the Injury Claims Guide but they will take these figures into account when assessing damages. In very severe cases where the claimant has not recovered the Court will assess damages up to the hearing date and will award a separate figure for pain and suffering into the future. In addition, the Court will award “Special Damages” ie, all expenses and costs incurred by the claimant to include loss of earnings up to the date of hearing and into the future, cost of care and in severe cases cost of future care.

  • How much can I get for my Whiplash Injury?

    Many neck injuries are associated with back and shoulder problems. Often these injures can be disabling with the victim living with significant pain and disability. Others are mild in terms of pain. The assessment of damages for whiplash compensation requires particular care and scrutiny. If the injuries are exaggerated the case can be dismissed. Medical experts can often be reliant on the honesty of claimants. The court should make its findings based on the nature of the extent of the injury but will also take the below list into consideration

    • Age;
    • Nature, severity and duration of injury and consequential symptoms;
    • Extent of medical intervention and treatment needed;
    • Evidence or risk of degenerative changes;
    • The Impact of the whiplash injury on the claimants work;
    • How has the injury interfered with quality of life and leisure activities;
    • Impact on personal relationships;
    • Prognosis.
  • Do whiplash claims get rejected?

    Whiplash claims may be rejected if they are not submitted within 2 years (for claimants over the age of 18) they will also be rejected if the accident was your fault / you staged the incident. If you don’t have the right medical report, or the court thinks the accident was staged, your case could be dismissed.

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

    You have 2 years from the date of the accident in which to make a claim.

  • Can I make a whiplash claim if I was a passenger?

    Yes, even if you were the passenger in a car and you’ve have suffered a whiplash injury you are fully entitled make a claim for compensation.

Frequently asked Questions About Whiplash
  • How does a doctor diagnose whiplash?

    It’s vital to see a doctor immediately if you’ve been involved in an accident or had any sudden impact to your head and feel neck pain and / or stiffness. Most whiplash symptoms of the back and neck can be treated with ‘over the counter’ painkillers. Physical therapy helps to increase circulation, restore range of motion, and promote healing. If your pain lasts a long time you should be referred for specialist treatment.

  • What are the treatments for Mild Whiplash Symptoms?

    Medication: With mild whiplash injuries your doctor will usually prescribe over the counter pain medication. More severe injuries will require prescription pain killers and muscle relaxants to reduce muscle spasms.

    Physiotherapy: In addition, physiotherapy will often be advised along with a home exercise programme to regain strength and flexibility in the neck. Patients will often be advised to practice good posture and relaxation techniques to help the neck muscles from straining and to assist with recovery.

    Collar: Patients are sometimes offered a foam collar to keep the neck stable. Usually, collars should be worn for no more than 2 or 3 hours at a time. Doctors will very often will advise that they should not be used for longer than a few days following the injury. Other remedies include chiropractic care, electronic nerve stimulation and acupuncture.

  • What is the recovery time from whiplash?

    Whiplash injuries, depending on the severity can last from a couple of weeks to years. For the best chance of speeding up your recovery, seek medical attention as early as possible. Your doctor will be able to properly diagnose your injuries and advise on a treatment plan to help assist your recovery.

    How Long Does Whiplash Last?

    Whiplash sometimes only lasts a few days but can last more than a year in severe cases.

    Can Whiplash Come Back?

    Like any injury, whiplash pain can reoccur. However, with the right treatment and care you should expect to make a full and permanent recovery.

  • What causes a severe Whiplash Injury?

    Severe injuries can occur if a person’s head is turned at the time of impact. A history of neck injury may also contribute to increased whiplash pain. The amount of pain a person suffers after an accident is complicated by that individual’s susceptibility to injury-which can be difficult to predict.

  • How long does it take to recover from Whiplash?

    Many of us don’t realise the severity of whiplash and the impact it can have on a person’s life. The effects of whiplash can leave you feeling pain for days, months, and sometimes the pain can persist indefinitely. Some victims of a whiplash injury may experience chronic pain or headaches for years following an accident resulting from damaged neck joints, discs and ligaments.

Got a Question about Starting a Claim for a Road Traffic Accident, Talk to us, We are here to help

You can start your claim today. Contact us by phone, email and a solicitor will contact you without delay.

014537890

info@lawline.ie

What do I need to Know about Road Accident Claims
  • What to do if you are the driver of a vehicle that’s been involved in a crash?

    Gardai­ Report

    If you are the driver of a vehicle that has been involved in a road traffic accident the first thing you should do is call the Gardai­. An abstract report from the Gardai­ can prove to be invaluable where liability for the accident is at issue. It is also necessary to ensure that you note the contact details of all people involved in the accident, including any witnesses, and more importantly to obtain the insurance details of the other drivers involved. Once all details have been exchanged and the accident has been reported to the Gardai­ it is advisable to seek medical attention.

    Following an accident you may be in shock and not realise the extent of the injuries you have sustained. Although in most cases involving road traffic accidents it is obvious who was at fault, there are cases where the issues are more complex. Road traffic accidents become more complicated where there are more than two parties involved, one party refuses to admit liability, the party at fault does not have a valid policy of insurance or the party at fault flees the scene of the accident.

  • How long do I have to Start a Claim? – Statute of Limitations

    Under the Statute of Limitations an injured party has two years from the date of the accident within which to make an injury claim. Road traffic accidents, like all personal injury claims, must first be processed through PIAB. We have a dedicated and professional team of solicitors who specialise in personal injury actions, arising out of road traffic accidents. If you have been involved in a road traffic accident and require further information please give us a call and a member of our team will be more than happy to assist you.

  • What if the Accident was caused by a Company Car?

    Whether you or the defendant owned the company car or it belongs to a company, the claims process is the remains the same. In most cases, it’s your employers responsibility to deal the insurance company in relation to the claim. And in any road accident claim, your solicitor will seek compensation from the insurers from the negligent party.

  • How will I know if I’m entitled to Claim for my Road Accident?

    Whether you were the driver or passenger, to be eligible for an injury claim, firstly, the injury must have been caused by another party (fully or partially). If you have been injured in a car or other accident that was not your fault, Irish law entitles you to claim for compensation. You are entitled to claim if you were a driver, passenger, pedestrian, cyclist, motorcyclist and if you were driving for work in a truck, bus, car or bike. You may also be able to bring a claim for your road accident even if the other party was uninsured.
    Unless you are under 18 the accident must have happened within the last 2 years and someone else was to blame (even partly).

  • What is the average Settlement for a Car Accident in Ireland?

    The amount to which you can claim varies in every case. The value of your case in terms of General Damages will depend on the nature and severity of the injury or injuries, the pain, suffering, and inconvenience resulting from the length of time for recovery and the prognosis for the future.
    In addition to General Damages you are entitled to claim for Special Damages – all financial losses and expense sustained by you as a result of the accident, including loss of earnings, doctors’ fees, hospital fees, medication, travelling expenses etc.
    Once we take your initial instructions to handle the case, we take up reports from any Medical Practitioners you’ve been to. The early reports are usually preliminary, but this enables us to decide which Court to launch your case, i.e. the District Court which has Jurisdiction to make awards up to €15,000, the Circuit Court which has jurisdiction up to €60,000 or the High Court which has unlimited Jurisdiction.
    The value of your claim will be discussed with you in some detail by us at the time of Settlement Negotiations or prior to the trial of your case.

  • How long does for Settlement money from a Traffic Accident?

    The time it takes to finalise a case usually depends more on the medical process rather than the legal process. As a general rule we advise our clients not to attempt to settle a case within 12 months from the accident date. It is good practice to see how the injury has settled at that stage. Subject to the Medical Report. It may be opportune to try to settle the case after about 12 months, although many cases may take longer, particularly the more serious ones. On conclusion of your case, you will usually be awarded your compensation payment within approximately 4 weeks.

  • How Does No Win No Fee* Claims Work?

    No Win No Fee* removes the risk for the Claimant when making an injury claim for their injuries sustained by a 3rd party. Terms and conditions will apply but in most cases If you don’t win your claim, you won’t have to pay your solicitor any legal fees.

    *Solicitors Advertising Regulations
    The regulations forbid the inclusion of any words or phrases which suggest that legal services relating to a compensation claim will be provided on a no win no fee basis as such prohibition is in line with the statutory ban on advertisements which encourage or induce claims for damages for personal injuries. It should be noted that there is no prohibition on solicitors in Ireland undertaking work on a no win no fee basis, and solicitors are perfectly entitled to offer their services on a no win no fee basis, and indeed many solicitors’ firms operate on a no foal, no fee basis. The restriction on solicitors is merely on the content of their advertisements.
    The general right of solicitors to advertise is severely curtailed when it comes to advertising for personal injuries claims. The Solicitors (Advertising) Regulations, 2002 (S.I. No. 518 of 2002) introduced a ban on advertisements which refer to claims or possible claims for damages for personal injuries, the outcome of such claims or the provision of services by solicitors in conjunction with such claims. The regulations prohibit advertisements which “solicit, encourage or offer any inducement” to make such claims. The regulations specify that the advertisement may include, amongst other things, “factual information on the legal services and areas of law to which the services relate”. The regulations specify that the words “personal injuries” may be included in such factual information in a “list of services”.

  • How can MIBI Help Me? – No Valid Policy or Insurance?

    The injured party, although entitled to sue in the courts for the injuries sustained, may be wasting their time if the defendant motorist has little means or assets. If the court makes an award and the Defendant is not in a position to pay the award the injured party may not succeed in their case. This problem was resolved in 1955 with the introduction of the Motor Insurers Bureau of Ireland (MIBI). The MIBI was established to compensate victims of uninsured motorists. A claim against the MIBI will be treated in the same way as a claim against a person holding a valid insurance policy.

  • Can I claim if I was the Passenger in a Crash?

    If you are a passenger in a vehicle which is involved in a road traffic accident you will be entitled to claim, regardless of who was at fault. Unlike drivers, passengers are almost never liable for road accidents. However, a passenger who knowingly travels in an uninsured car or who knowingly travels in a vehicle being driven by an intoxicated driver may be denied compensation in the event of a collision. Whether you were in a vehicle hit by a negligent driver, or a passenger in the car that caused the accident, you will most probably be entitled to compensation.

     

  • Do I still have a Claim if I was Partly to Blame?

    If you were partly to blame for the Road Collision, you may still be entitled to a Compensation Award – but the final amount may be reduced. It is not always obvious who is liable for the traffic accident if multiple vehicles were involved and it’s commonplace to lay fault on both sides. Your Solicitor will be able to advice you of best case outcome from the early stages of your case. When multiple parties are to blame for an accident, then the liability is split, This is called a ‘Split Liability Agreement’.
    For example, if has been proven that both parties involved were equally to blame – 50% / 50%, you may receive 50% less compensation.

  • What if the other Driver involved in the Accident is Uninsured?

    The injured party, although entitled to sue in the courts for the injuries sustained, may be wasting their time if the defendant motorist has little means or assets. If the court makes an award and the Defendant is not in a position to pay the award the injured party may not succeed in their case. This problem was resolved in 1955 with the introduction of the Motor Insurers Bureau of Ireland (MIBI). The MIBI was established to compensate victims of uninsured motorists.

    A claim may be brought against the MIBI by any person, ‘entitled in law, to bring a claim for personal injury or wrongful death which arises out of the negligent use, by an uninsured person, of a mechanically propelled vehicle’. A claim against the MIBI will be taken in the same way as a claim against a person holding a valid insurance policy.

    If you’ve been involved in a road collision where the driver who caused the accident doesn’t have insurance, or the 3rd party left the scene, your accident solicitor can still get you compensation. MIBI – The Motor Insurers Bureau of Ireland was established to underwrite motor insurance in Ireland so victims of road traffic accidents caused by uninsured and unidentified vehicles can be fully compensated. Circumstance include:

  • What happens if I was involved in a Hit and Run Accident?

    If you’ve been involved in a road accident and the other party fled the scene, you can still be compensated. The MIBI Agreement enables an award to compensate victims involved in a Road Traffic Accident who have sustained personal injury caused by Unidentified vehicles / Drivers. Talk to your Solicitor and they will best advice how to start a claim of this nature.

  • Do I have a Claim if I was in an Accident with a Foreign Car?

    MIBI, (as Green Card Bureau), deals with claims from parties involved in accidents, in Ireland, caused by non-national vehicles – once the country of origin is a member of the Green Card System. It’s vital to obtain relevant information from the car and driver if possible: the registration number, make and model of the vehicle, country of origin, the name of the driver and insurance details. Click here for list of Green Card Countries

  • What are General Damages?

    General Damages in Personal Injury Cases for example; a Traffic Accident, are in place to compensate you for the impact the injury has and will have on your life. This includes pain and suffering mild or severe sustained from the injury. This pain can be physical but also physiological. Read more on Post Traumatic Stress Claims. The amount awarded will also be based on the impact of your injuries on your daily life such as short term or a permanent disability or disfigurement.  A further consideration for the compensation end figure includes what areas of the body were temporarily or permanently affected.

    Read More about General Damages

     

  • What are Special Damages?

    Special Damages consist of your out of pocket expenses such as Loss of earnings, Medical Expenses, Travelling expenses, Care hire etc.

    Read More about Special Damages

  • How to know if I have an Injury Claim

    Before accepting your instructions, we will have discussed your case with you and will have advised you of the strengths and weaknesses (if any) of your case. In many cases, it is very clear from the outset that an injured party will succeed in being fully compensated, for example, where the injury results from a motor accident when the client is a passenger, to give but one example. In some cases, the courts apportion liability, i.e. they rule in favour of the Plaintiff but make a deduction from the full value of the case on the basis of the Plaintiff’s “contributory negligence.”

  • What if I was partly to Blame for the Accident?

    It is important to note that many valid claims are never brought because an injured party feels the accident was his own fault, whereas the primary cause of the accident may well rest with some other party, and the injured party’s own carelessness may only have been a contributing factor. In such cases the courts may apportion Liability. It is therefore always advisable to consult a solicitor concerning any injury resulting from an accident.

  • How long does it take to get paid after the Settlement?

    Following a settlement or a Court Award, it typically takes about 4 weeks for payment to issue from the major Insurance companies. Local Authorities can take longer, usually about 4 – 8 weeks.

  • Who pays out the Compensation Award?

    A compensation figure is firstly offered by the defendants Insurance Company. Insurance Companies will often make a low value offer to your solicitor. It’s always the objective of the Insurance company to pay out  less money. In Most cases your solicitor will reject this offer when the defendant appears to be liable.

    Defendants and their insurance companies will want to avoid the expense of Going to Court.

    Once the insurance company realises the defendants liability position, an appropriate settlement offer will be made. If the case is complicated, this can cause delays. 

    Once an insurance company has admitted liability on behalf of the defendant and agreed to process the claim, this moves quickly.  Typically, the claimant will receive their compensation payment (from initial offer to agreed  offer) within a few weeks.

What is a Personal Injury Claim?

A personal injury is defined as either a physical injury, disease or illness, or a psychological injury / condition that has been caused by someone else.

If you were injured in an accident due to no fault or your own, Irish law entitles you to claim General Damages compensation for your injuries sustained, Loss of Income, Future Care and possibly other Special Damages. Our personal injury solicitors deal with a wide range of minor to catastrophic and life changing injuries. So, If you have suffered a personal injury and want to make a claim for an accident, contact our team today.

FAQ – Going to Court
  • Will my Case Go to Court?

    We deal with every case on the basis that it may end up in Court – in reality cases don’t always go to court and usually settle beforehand. If the defendants Insurance Company has not offered enough or has made no offer on your case, then your case may go to court. However, if any offer has been made, you (the claimant) decide whether or not to accept it. Your Solicitor will give you advice in relation to accepting or rejecting the offer, but the ultimate decision is yours. If no offer is made, then this indicates that the other side is reasonably confident of defending the case.

  • Why would my Case go to Court?

    Cases go to court for two reasons, either the Defendant has not offered enough Compensation or the Defendant has made No offer. If an offer is made, then it is you who decides whether or not to accept the offer. Your Solicitor will provide advice in relation to any offer, but the ultimate decision is yours. If no offer is made, then this would indicate that the other side is reasonably confident of successfully defending the case. In such event your options will be clearly outlined to you.

  • What Happens if my Case does go to Court?

    If your case does go to court, there is no reason for concern about appearing in court as your your solicitor will lead you through your evidence. You simply answer all questions to the best of your ability. And your legal team will be there to support you throughout the whole case. You are firstly examined by your own Barrister, following which, the Defendant’s Barrister will cross-examine and attempt to illicit details from you.  These questions may be favourable to the Defendant’s case. The Judge may also have questions.

  • 3 Tips For Going to Court
    1. When arriving for your case, it is important that you dress in a manner which shows proper respect to the Court.
    2. If being questioned in court, Try to avoid giving hasty or confused replies.
    3. If you are not sure of the answer to any question, you should say so, Your legal team are there to support you.
  • Do I need to bring a Witness to Court?

    After completion of your evidence, the evidence of any other witnesses is heard. This may include a Medical Practitioner. Their evidence is usually admitted as a Medical Report handed into the Judge. Other witnesses may include an engineer and any person who witnessed the event.

  • How does the Judge reach their Decision on Liability?

    When all the witnesses have been heard, and Counsel has made any relevant points to the Court, the Judge makes his/her decision, more often than not on the day, but on occasion, they may postpone the judgement to another day. The judge delivers their decision on liability, and if in favour of the Plaintiff will make an Award of Damages as Compensation.

Got a query about your case?

Whether your injury case is straight forward or complex, our solicitors will provide professional legal advice, guidance and support throughout your case. Simply, tell us a little bit about what happened, we will guide you through the process and tell you whether or not you can claim for injury. Contact us by phone or email 7 Days a week. Expert Legal advice as you need it.

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