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Whiplash Claims and Car Insurance Compensation Amounts - What damages can you recover from a neck injury

Updated on November 23, 2010

Whiplash occurs most commonly as a result of traffic accidents. The effects of whiplash can range from minor discomfort and headaches through to permanent disability. Because the outcome of these injuries is so varied the compensation can differ significantly.

What is Whiplash According to Insurance Claims?

The term whiplash is used to describe a soft tissue injury that occurs in your neck. It is caused by a sudden and abrupt movement of your head which causes excessive strain on your neck. Whiplash injuries occur most commonly in car accidents and for legal purposes is specific to neck injuries that occur as a result from your car getting hit from behind. Although the person who rear ended your car may have a similar injury it technically would be different to whiplash.

Of course whiplash isn’t exclusive to car accidents; it can also be caused by repetitive neck damage and also firm blows to the head. However some form of whiplash is present in almost a quarter of car accidents and even more motor accident compensation claims that involve a motorcycle as assessed by insurance companies. It is important to note that these injuries can occur at very low speeds and the results can be just as serious. In addition it is not uncommon to experience neck pain from whiplash a day or two after the incident. If you have suffered an injury like this then you may be entitled to compensation.

Whiplash Claims
Whiplash Claims

Whiplash Payouts

Successful claims for whiplash injuries are paid out according to the severity of the injury. In the case of Whiplash claims the following categories and amounts provide a general indication of what kind of compensation you can expect from a given claim. The claims are listed in order of seriousness;

Almost Negligible:

Whiplash claims that fall into this category are the least serious. The injuries that are caused from the incident and resulting symptoms are very slight and a complete recovery will be made in several weeks to a few months. Approximate amount in compensation: $1000-4000.


Slightly more serious are minor injuries. The difference here is the length of recovery can stretch to a period of years. A full recovery is to be expected from such an injury. The compensation for this is in the range of $5000-$6000.


The next whiplash classification is for moderate injuries. These are characterised by the presence of ongoing sharp pains that can lead to stiffness and some limited range of movement. Again a full recovery is the expected outcome here and the payout of a successful whiplash claim will be from $6000-$13000.


A serious whiplash claim is one that has resulted in a documented case of cervical spondylitis. This is a common degenerative condition of the cervical spine but has in this case been caused by the accident. This causes extra wear on the discs in your spine and it may not be possible to recover from this completely. Compensation in this case can be in the region of $14000 to $20000.


Severe whiplash injuries have caused damage to soft tissue and also fractures to the bones in your spine. After such an injury your movement and also the ability to work will be affected and as such the whiplash compensation claims can be in order of $20000 through to $45000.

Very Severe:

An injury that is classed as very severe will result in some form or permanent disability which may also compromise your ability to work. Some of these injuries include local paralysis of the neck and other body parts that will severely restrict your range of movement. In this case a successful claim can yield anywhere from $45000 to $15000 in damages.

These above amounts are meant as a general guideline. After your injury, all doctors and subsequent injury lawyers will treat each person on a case by case basis hence the final amounts may differ. These estimates do not include other losses and expenses that you may have incurred including damage to your car. Some of these additional expenses may be covered by your commercial insurance if you are in a company vehicle at the time of the incident so be sure to take this up with your solicitor.

Whiplash Claims
Whiplash Claims

Who Should Represent My Compensation Claim?

Your main options for making a claim are through a Solicitor or a Claims Company and both options could potentially be right for you. Because litigation in whiplash cases requires an explicit knowledge of neck injuries and rehabilitation, there are solicitors who specialize in making whiplash claims. If you can find one directly then this would be a good choice.

On the other hand a claims company would be just as likely to assign a solicitor with such experience and because this solicitor is recommended by the claims company they will have another form of regulation for their services. That being said you can still choose your own representation even after your insurer has recommended a solicitor through the claims company or otherwise. Do your comparisons carefully and be wary of any conditions or promotions that seem too good to be true.

No Win, No Fee….Not Necessarily

This is a popular term used by many injury and compensation lawyers and unfortunately doesn’t always reflect the truth. There aren’t many lawyers or anyone for that matter willing to work for nothing and in most of these cases the fee will not come from the result of the claim but for other “administration and handling” costs that are levied for the process. A good solicitor should be able to advise you on your prospects of a successful compensation claim relatively early on as it is a straightforward process.

Whiplash injuries can cause pain that lasts for a number of years and even permanent damage. The most important thing after your injury is to seek immediate medical attention. If it is serious enough then you solicitor will be able to arrange private medical care almost immediately. Fortunately only a small percentage of these injuries lead to long term injuries and the rest will enjoy a full recovery. Your health and recovery come over and above making any claim. That being said, the right representation can ensure you receive the best treatment with the least inconvenience to your life after the incident.


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