Making a claim for whiplash injury
- November 11, 2011
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If you have been involved in a road traffic accident either as a passenger or driver then the chances are you will suffer, to some degree, a whiplash injury.
Whiplash injuries are caused by the sudden movement of the neck being pushed backwards and forwards as the vehicle is jolted suddenly as a result of either being shunted forward or stopping suddenly depending on the point of impact.
The symptoms of whiplash don’t always manifest themselves straight away and it can be up to 48 hours before the pain can really start to kick in.
Whiplash injuries can be very painful and debilitating and you should always seek medical advice if you have been involved in a road traffic accident. Your first point of call should be your doctor or your local accident and emergency department.
If you intend to bring a compensation claim for your whiplash injuries then seek medical attention as a thorough record of your symptoms will assist greatly when claiming damages for your injuries.
In addition to obtaining medical evidence there are steps you need to take to ensure that your claim is done properly and that you receive all you are due.
Here is a brief guide regarding not what to do when you have a car accident.
1. Don’t admit any degree of liability, don’t say ‘ I didn’t see them’ or anything that you wouldn’t want read out in court – the other driver’s insurers have a vested interest in not paying you any compensation they may try to persuade that part if not all the accident was your fault. Don’t say anything to them, if they call you tell them that your solicitor is dealing with the matter and they will be in touch. Tell them this even if you haven’t yet instructed a solicitor. They have no right to demand to know who your solicitor is. If they ask tell them they will know when they get your solicitor’s letter
2. Never say that you ‘feel fine’. Whiplash injuries may not come on for 24-48 hours so if the other side’s insurers call you after the accident and ask how you are tell them you are not in a position to discuss your medical condition and that your solicitor will be in touch. They may try and persuade you that by going to the hospital or the doctors you are taking up valuable NHS time; they don’t care about waiting lists they are trying to get you to say that you have no injuries then they will try to buy you off with a few hundred quid and a bunch of flowers. Don’t listen to them; even the most modest of injuries can attract damages over £1000.00 – they won’t tell you this but your solicitor will and they will also tell you about claiming for time off work, treatment costs etc.
3. Don’t let the other side’s insurers talk you out of your claim by saying that your premiums will go up – THEY WON’T. If the accident was the other driver’s fault your insurers will recognise this and they will regard it as a non-fault accident and your premium should not increase.
4. Ignore them if they say that by instructing a solicitor it will take forever to deal with your claim. It will take longer than if you settle with them there and then but you will invariably receive a higher level of settlement to reflect all your losses. Trust me; it will be worth the wait.
5. They will also tell you that the Solicitor is going to charge you for their services, insurance policies and ‘extras’ and you could end up with nothing. Ignore them (again). This refers back to the embarrassment that was the Accident Group where Claimants were signed up to unnecessary and expensive insurance policies and processed by unqualified call centre operatives. These days are now, thankfully, behind us and your solicitor should guarantee you 100% of your damages without any deductions, if they don’t confirm this move on there are plenty of solicitors out there who will.
6. Don’t accept their offer to settle. You will invariably get less than you should, they will tell you that they are being fair and honest and trying to help you. Well, they would say that wouldn’t they.
7. Don’t let them pass you onto their solicitor to deal with your claim – they are paid by the insurance company do you really think that they have your best interests at heart?
To make sure that you get the damages you deserve always get independent legal advice from a solicitor who specialises in road traffic accidents