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Passenger Whiplash Compensation

Research suggests that almost 75 percent of road traffic accident claims made against insurance companies are whiplash related – including passenger whiplash compensation – meaning that more than 500,000 people in the UK claim for whiplash every year.

Despite whiplash injury compensation claims often being looked upon sceptically by the UK media, whiplash is a real injury which can develop into a long-term health problem if the right treatment is not sought in a timely manner. Passengers are just as prone to whiplash as drivers, and can often suffer greater injuries as they do not have the same split second to brace themselves when an accident is imminent.

Furthermore, if you have been injured while travelling in a car and someone else was to blame you may be entitled to pursue an injury compensation claim and should speak with an experienced road traffic accident solicitor at the first possible opportunity. A solicitor will enable you to pursue a settlement that is both fair and reflects the pain and inconvenience you suffered as a result of your injuries.

Typical Whiplash Injuries While Traveling in a Car

You may be eligible to claim passenger whiplash compensation if you have suffered whiplash in a car accident for which someone else was at fault – even he driver with whom you were travelling.

Whiplash injuries as a passenger in a car

Whiplash injuries as a passenger in a car

Whiplash injuries are caused when ligaments in the neck and soft tissue around the top of the spine are stretched suddenly and unnaturally when the neck is jerked forward and backward – like the way a car is bumped around during after being hit during a road traffic accident for example. Whiplash injuries normally begin to manifest themselves through neck aches and tenderness around the affected area, with headaches or pins and needles in your limbs to follow – these symptoms are due to the ricocheting of the skull during the impact and damage to the nervous system within the spinal cord.

Persons claiming for whiplash can be injured while travelling in a car without a car insight – wet floors, uneven surfaces or a fall during the course of a workday have known to have led to whiplash accidents – usually when the injured person’s head hits a static object as they fall.

Persons who have suffered whiplash can pursue an injury compensation claim once the accident was caused by the carelessness of a third party who had a responsibility for your health and safety. Once someone else was at fault for your injury you are eligible to claim for whiplash.

What to do after Suffering Whiplash in a Road Traffic Accident

Potential claimants seeking to claim passenger whiplash compensation should be aware of the procedures that should be followed after being injured while traveling in a car.

The first step a person injured in a road traffic accident must take is to seek medical attention. Not only will seeking medical attention allow you to have your whiplash injury treated, it will also allow you to access a medical report of your injuries, which will be needed in order to pursue an injury compensation claim. If you do not possess a medical report when trying to claim for whiplash your action is unlikely to be successful as it will allow the defendant to argue that your injuries were not severe enough to warrant medical attention or claim they did not occur at all.

Furthermore, if you did not receive treatment for your injuries immediately after the incident the defendant could argue that you exacerbated them by waiting to have them seen to. If this is the case, you will still be able to claim compensation but your award would be reduced to reflect your own carelessness. It is always best to have your injuries seen to as quickly as possible when you suspect that you have suffered whiplash – this is because whiplash injuries can often take days to manifest themselves, growing more severe and painful in the meantime.

Once you have had your injuries tended to you should contact the police. Contacting the police will allow you to get the accident on record, make a statement and have an entry submitted into the station’s Accident Report Book. If your injuries were sustained in a business like a shop or a pub or at work, they will also have an Accident Report Book into which you can make an entry. You should retain a copy of whatever you write.

Making a Claim for Whiplash Compensation

Once your claim for passenger whiplash compensation has been assessed by a solicitor you will know whether or not you are eligible to claim for whiplash and whether the injury compensation claim is worth pursuing.

Making a claim for whiplash compensation

Making a claim for whiplash compensation

The first step in pursuing a claim is notifying the negligent party’s insurance company that you intend to take action against one of their policyholders. In order to achieve this, your solicitor will issue the company with a Letter of Claim and any evidence you have collected to support your claim. Once the letter is sent the insurance company has 21 days in which to acknowledge the claim for compensation and a further 90 days in which to mount an investigation into the accident and/or accept liability for their policyholder’s negligence. If liability for the road traffic accident is accepted, your solicitor will enter into negotiations with the insurance company in order to secure the most compensation possible.

If liability is denied, your solicitor will initiate court proceedings on your behalf. However, it is not inevitable at this point that your claim will go to court, and mindful of the costs involved in entering into litigation, the insurance company may offer you an out-of-court settlement before the court date arrives.

Whiplash Injury Compensation Claims for Children

Claiming passenger whiplash compensation when children are involved is much the same as in the case of an adult, although there are some slight differences. As children cannot legally pursue a claim for whiplash or instruct a solicitor on their own an adult – known as a Litigation Friend – must act on their behalf. A litigation friend must not have any conflict of injury in the case – be the person responsible for the child being injured while traveling in a car for example, and must accept all financial liability should the claim be unsuccessful.

Most of the procedures involved in pursuing an injury compensation claim for a road traffic accident on behalf of a child are the same as in the case of an adult, and when both parent and child have been injured in the same accident claims can sometimes run in tandem.

Another difference between the case of a child and that of an adult occurs in payment time – a child must wait until they are 18 years of age until they can receive their award (although some may be made available in the meantime to cover medical and educational costs); until then it is held in court funds.

As children are always passengers in a car accident they are often awarded more compensation than adults. Children have weaker muscles, and as passengers, do not have the same split second to brace themselves that may be afforded to a driver when a crash is imminent.

Unsolicited Offers of Compensation for Your Whiplash Injury

Whether the person pursuing passenger whiplash compensation is an adult or a child, the possibility of receiving an early unsolicited offer of compensation always exists. Insurance companies often issue potential claimants with unsolicited offers of compensation for a road traffic accident when they are made aware that one of their policyholders has been involved and that someone has been injured while travelling in a car. Sometimes the insurance companies submit their offers before an injured person has decided whether or not they want to pursue an injury compensation claim.

Insurance companies issue potential claimants with unsolicited offers of compensation in order to save money – unsolicited offers allow insurance companies to avoid legal fees, to control what they pay out and to catch a claimant when they are at their most vulnerable – directly after an accident; also when they are most likely to accept an offer.

If you receive an unsolicited offer of compensation it should be referred to a solicitor immediately. A solicit will be able to tell you whether the offer is fair, if it will cover the costs associated with your injuries and how much compensation you could awarded if you were to take the claim to court.

If you inadvertently accept an offer of compensation for your claim for whiplash you will not be able to negotiate for more compensation should it be needed in future. The amount offered to you by an insurance company is likely to cover the full cost of your injuries – medical bills, time missed off work and any other cost you had to bear as a result of being partially or fully incapacitated. If your short-term finances are an issue, a solicitor can arrange for short-term interim payments to be made – provided liability is accepted.

How Much Compensation is Awarded for a Whiplash Injury?

How much passenger whiplash compensation you are eligible to receive depends on a number of factors, with the extent and severity of your injuries and the impact it has had on your quality of life two of the first considered. Compensation for loss of amenity – the inability to perform day-to-day tasks, any psychological injuries you suffered after being injured while traveling in a car, and the pain and suffering inflicted upon you are assessed using the Judicial Studies Board Guidelines for General Damages in Personal Injury Claims.

Any quantifiable expenses you incurred as a result of the injury are redeemable through the special damages portion of your compensation package. Your claim for whiplash can include provisions for fixing any damage done to your care, reimbursement for earnings that were lost as a result of being injured in the road traffic accident, public transport fares if you are left unable to drive – essentially an expense that you incurred as a direct result of the liable party’s negligence.

It is important to note that no two whiplash injury compensation claims are identical. As explained above children tend to be awarded more compensation because of their weaker neck muscles; the same consideration is made for women. Claimants who are active in their leisure time will be awarded more compensation than those who spend their spare time in front of the television because their ability to engage in the activities they enjoy will be more greatly affected, and a high earner will receive a larger pay out that a lesser earner due to their having missed out on a larger quantifiable amount of money.

“No Win, No Fee” Representation in Passenger Whiplash Claims

No Win No Fee arrangements are probably the most popular method used for pursuing passenger whiplash compensation. A No Win No Fee arrangement is one whereby your solicitor agrees not to charge any legal fees if your injury compensation claim is unsuccessful. While No Win No Fee arrangements may appear to be the most convenient way of pursuing compensation, they are not for everyone.

If you choose to employ a No Win No Fee solicitor to handle your claim you may still have to reimburse them for any additional expenses – such as travel costs or obtaining medical reports – that they incur while preparing your case; and while you will not have to pay your solicitor anything if your claim for whiplash is unsuccessful, you may still have to pay the defendant’s legal fees – these costs can often run into thousands of pounds.

Your solicitor may ask you to examine any home contents or car insurance policies that you might hold as they sometimes – unbeknown to the holder – contain provisions for legal fees. It is important that you check these documents as quickly as possible after the road traffic accident as are sometimes subject to expiry dates (usually six months).

If your Before the Event insurance does not cover any potential financial liability, your solicitor may ask you to take out an After the Event policy. No matter how strong a claim you have after being injured while travelling in a car there is always the chance that a judge might not decide in your favour. After the Event insurance will cover you should your claim be unsuccessful – the premium is usually payable to your solicitor once the outcome of the claim is known.

Speak with an Experienced Solicitor

Although passenger whiplash compensation claims are the most common types of personal injury compensation claims in the UK, there are many different reasons why contrasting amounts of compensation might be awarded to different claimants. For this reason it is important that you discuss the circumstances surrounding your claim for whiplash at the first available opportunity.