Whiplash injury after a car accident: tips and tricks to maximise the value of your claim

People often downplay the significance of a whiplash injury. Insurance companies (and some doctors) will tell you that your symptoms won’t last longer than 4 to 6 weeks. They will say you shouldn’t be feeling pain any longer and if you do, that’s “all in your head”. The reality is very different. Whiplash injuries can have long lasting effects and you may be entitled to significant compensation if your injury happened in a car accident that wasn’t your fault.


In this article we summarise a few things you should keep in mind if you have suffered a whiplash injury in a car accident. If you want to find out what type of damages can you recover after a whiplash injury, read this article also.



Medical attention

This goes without saying: if you are involved in a serious car accident and urgent medical attention is required, call the ambulance.


Oftentimes, at first you might not think that your injuries are too serious.  It can take a little while for the adrenaline to settle down. For example, it might take a day or two to notice that you have neck pain or back pain. Alternatively, even if you notice pain straight away, you might think it will go away if you just give it a couple of days.


If you feel pain after a car accident, it’s important to visit your GP. There are two reasons for this. Firstly, you need medical treatment. Secondly, the fact is, a whiplash injury or some other type of spinal injury can have a lasting impact on your life. If the accident was not your fault, seeing your doctor soon after the accident will help you prove that your injuries were caused in the accident (and not in some other event or situation).


Details of other driver and vehicle involved

Subject to your medical situation, if you can, it’s important to note down the following details:

  • Name, address, phone number, date of birth and license number of the other driver
  • Make, model, colour of all other vehicles involved in the crash
  • Name, address, phone number of any witnesses

What if the other car doesn’t stop/leaves the accident scene?

Sometimes it’s impossible to identify the driver who caused the accident. That’s ok. In Queensland, you can still make a compensation claim against an insurance company called the Nominal Defendant. This company has been set up specifically to deal with situations where the other driver can’t be identified.


However, there is one critical thing you need to remember: there are very strict time limits to make a claim. For example, in some situations (but not always), the time limit can be as short as 3 months. So, if you don’t know who caused the accident, call us so we can advise you further.


Police report and QP number

Before you can claim compensation, the accident must be reported to the police and the police needs to generate a QP number (which is the traffic accident reference number).


There are a number of ways to do this.


If an ambulance needs to be called, usually the police will also come to the scene and they will create the report.


Alternatively, you can call the police while you are still at the accident scene. If it is clear that someone was injured, the police must be called to the scene. But in addition, it’s a good idea to call the police especially if there is a dispute with the other driver as to who was at fault.


It’s also possible to lodge a report with the police later. In fact, we can do this for you. The sooner this gets done the better. (Having said this, we have had situations where we lodged the report over a year after the accident).


Keeping a diary

In our experience, after a car accident as time goes on and you get better, people tend to downplay how badly they were impacted in the weeks and months after the accident. Sick days taken are forgotten. No records are kept about purchasing pain medication. The list goes on.


It is essential that after a car accident, you keep a diary. You should record the pain you are feeling. There will be things at work you can’t do or struggle to do because of the injuries. Record them in the diary. Do you have to say no to overtime work because you are fatigued due to pain? Put it in the diary.


You would be surprised how this all adds up. Having a diary helps proving the effects of your injuries which in turns maximises the value of your claim.


A quick note on physiotherapy

Particularly after a whiplash injury, even if you don’t need any surgery, you will most likely need physio.


People sometimes don’t go to physio because they think they can’t afford it. In most cases, we can help you get funding for this during the claim process, so you don’t need to pay out of your own pocket.


I want to discuss my claim, what should I do next?

Our first step is a face-to-face meeting with Oszkar Denes, our principal solicitor. Find out more about Oszkar here.


The meeting is completely free. We will get a bit more information from you about your injuries, and we explain the claim process.


Please contact us using the form at the bottom of this page or call us on (07) 3063 2268.


Free book offer: what to expect in your injury claim

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:

  • How do you calculate your compensation amount?
  • How should you choose your lawyer? Do you just choose by firm name regardless of who is really in charge of your matter? Has your lawyer ever argued a case in court?
  • What is a no win – no fee agreement? How much will it cost?

Our book is available to you free of charge. You don’t have to be a client to receive this book. Head to the order page and we will be happy to send you a copy straight away.

Oszkar Denes Seven Deadly Sins that can wreck your personal injury claim

25% Cap on legal costs

In all of our personal injury compensation matters, we act on a  No Win – No Fee basis. What that means is, there’s no upfront cost to you.


In Queensland, most compensation firms will charge you 50% of your compensation amount – the maximum allowed at law. This is very expensive. Our fee is different. We will cap our fee at 25% . Remember also, these are the maximum fees we will charge. If our fee in your claim is less, then we charge the lesser amount.


Before you engage us, we will provide you a written Disclosure Notice and a Client Service Agreement. These documents set out in detail the service we provide, as well as our fees and outlays. Before you sign anything, you can take these documents home with you, and study them with your family. You can take as long as you need, there is never any pressure from us. If anything in these documents doesn’t make sense to you, we can discuss it with you and you are free to ask another lawyer to give you advice.  And remember, no win – no fee agreements come with a 5 day cooling off period for extra peace of mind.