If you have suffered whiplash injury in an accident (commonly car accident) then you may be entitled to claim compensation.
A whiplash injury is a neck injury.
It is caused by a rapid back and forth movement. In other words, sudden acceleration/ deceleration forces can result in this type of injury.
Having a whiplash injury means that you have suffered an injury to your cervical spine.
A whiplash injury is commonly caused by rear end car accidents but also by sideways collisions. It can also be caused by sports accidents, other traumas or even sudden falls.
A whiplash injury can cause long lasting, chronic neck pain and associated symptoms and limitations.
Either immediately or within a day or two of a car accident, there is going to be an onset of pain in the neck region.
Symptoms include continuing neck pain, stiffness as well as other symptoms such as:
The symptoms are not necessarily limited to the neck. The pain can extend to the shoulders.
Also, the symptoms are not necessarily present continuously throughout the day. For example, several of our clients have reported that they feel most of the limitations and pain towards the end of the day. In other words, you might be able to work during the day, but by the time you get home and you are tired, you feel increased pain in the neck and in the surrounding regions.
In our experience there are several factors which can make whiplash symptoms worse. For example, the cold weather, prolonged driving or sitting, weightlifting or adopting awkward positions.
We also see our clients develop difficulties when they attempt to do domestic chores such as cleaning or even exercising.
In many cases, the treatment involves rest, Brufen, Norgesic, physiotherapy, heat packs and home exercises.
However, we emphasise that treatment in your particular case should be based on your medical specialist’s recommendations.
Some people completely recover from whiplash within a matter of weeks. However, in many cases, the whiplash will lead to chronic pain in which case the prognosis is unfortunately that the neck pain symptoms will be present in the future.
We suggest that it may be best to wait 2-3 weeks after the accident before thinking about seeking legal advice. The reality is that your whiplash injury may completely resolve within 2-3 weeks, or perhaps in a month. We are not trying to trivialise injuries that cause difficulties for 3-4 weeks. However, the practical reality is that if the injury resolves within that time completely, then it is not going to be worth bringing a compensation claim in Queensland.
If symptoms do not completely resolve within 3 weeks or so, then we suggest that you seek legal advice.
In addition, if you suffered any other injuries, for example broken bones, back pain then we suggest seeking legal advice without delay.
During the legal process, we will brief a medico-legal expert, either a neurosurgeon or an orthopaedic surgeon, to examine you and provide an expert opinion on the following matters:
During the medical examination, the expert will:
In our experience, based on this type of examination, our expert will be able to confidently report and prove that you have suffered whiplash injury. We can prove whiplash injury even if there is no X-ray report available.
The short answer is yes. In fact, all of our current cases involve clients who were wearing seatbelts at the time of their accidents.
Unfortunately, wearing a seatbelt will not necessarily prevent a whiplash injury from occurring.
Yes. While airbags may be effective in preventing or reducing the risk of more serious injuries, the reality is that whiplash can occur even if the airbags are deployed.
One of the most significant consequence is that you will have to put up with neck pain for a long time period. This means you will be limited in the tasks that you can do at home, such as looking after your yard, cleaning and exercising.
In our experience, some of these limitations take significant emotional toll on our clients. For example, one of the common issues which arise is that our clients are not able to lift their young children.
The other issue is that having a chronic whiplash injury in the long term will reduce your income. This is because you will likely need to take time off work, even if it is not in one big block.
For example, you might only take off the occasional day but over several years this adds up.
In addition, if you have issues with concentration, then this may affect your performance at work in a negative way.
If you suffered whiplash injury in a car accident while you were on your way to work (or on your way home from work) then you could be entitled to workers compensation payments even if you are also able to make a CTP claim. We recommend that you read our related article to understand how you can navigate two claims at the same time.
Many firms try to rush you to sign up with them without carefully considering your options. We encourage you to first learn about your personal injury claim. You should ask yourself:
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