If you’ve ever had the misfortune of being in a car accident you will know it is a traumatizing experience. Getting injured makes things a lot worse and although whiplash is often seen as a ‘minor’ injury, it is still painful. Sad news has recently been shared for anyone who got hurt and hoped to be compensated. Insurance companies want to lower the amount people can receive for whiplash claims.
A Victory for Insurance Companies
For years now, insurance companies have felt that people abuse the rights they have to put in claims after injuries sustained in car accidents. According to them, people have faked injuries just to claim money from insurance.
A report by The Dialy Mail indicates that compensation for whiplash claims can go as high as £2,250. But if insurance companies get their way, that amount will drop with hundreds. It could reach as little as £470 per claim.
As if that’s not enough, these legal reforms will make it harder for car accident victims to make a no-win, no-fee agreement with a solicitor. (This agreement sees the client only pays contingency fees if the claim has been successfully completed)
Victims will have to represent themselves
Starting on 1 August, Small Claims Courts will deal with personal injury claims that stem from accidents and have an expected pay-out of below £5,000. Previously, the limit was £1000, and this change means that many more cases will head to the Small Claims Court.
This means that victims of accidents will now have to represent themselves when they appear in court.
CheckMyLegalFees.com reports that there may now be less justice for people with real personal injury claims. Making claims will be much more difficult and rather impractical.
Hugely Reduced Pay-Outs For Whiplash Claims
Under the Civil Liability Act 2018, these newly proposed tariffs for soft tissue injuries (whiplash injuries fall under this category) that las less than two years will be reduced greatly. It will be brought down to between £270 and £3,900. Of course, this depends on the severity of the injury and suffering of the victim.
Many people will thus walk away with less than a quarter of what they may have hoped to receive for their injury claim.
An Expert’s Opinion
Mark Carlisle, the founder of CheckMyLegalFees.com, and a legal expert focused exclusively on cases under the Solicitors Act said that this decision to lower claim pay-outs is a game-changer. Claims related to whiplash injuries is expected to drop now that people will not be receiving a generous sum anymore.
He added that this is a big win for the insurance industry that will pay out much less now. However, it remains to be seen if the premiums paid by clients will go down as well.
Whiplash facts and treatment
Whiplash is also called neck strain and is mostly associated with car accidents This injury refers to a blow or impact that caused the head to jerk forward and backwards suddenly. This unexpected movement stretches and even tears the tendons and muscles in the neck. It is as painful as it sounds. The symptoms of this kind of injury can be present immediately or take a few hours or days to show up.
Symptoms of whiplash are:
- Pain when rocking the head side to side or forward and backwards
- Headaches at the base of the skull – these can radiate to the forehead
- Stiffness or pain when moving the head to look over the shoulders
- Decreased range of motion and pain
- Tightness in the neck and muscles that feel knotted or hard
Diagnosis is made by a doctor who will give the victim an examination and X-rays may be taken. A CT scan (computed tomography scan) may also be done, as well as some other tests.
There are many treatments suggested for whiplash. They are:
- Icing the neck to reduce swelling and pain – do this for 15 minutes every 3 or 4 hours over 2 to 3 days
- Take painkillers that were recommended by your doctor
- Apply moist heat to the neck after about 3 days of icing it – use a warm, wet towel or take a warm bath
- Use anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen or naproxen (these have side effects, however)
- If prescribed by your doctor, use muscle relaxants (only for a short time)
What Does This Mean For Accident Victims With Whiplash?
If you got whiplash in an accident, you can still make a claim from insurance. However, you will not receive a huge sum of money. Still, it can help make your life easier when you’re perhaps forced to stay at home because of your injury. Following procedure that’s in-ine with whiplash facts and treatment can change the way one feels physically and financially.