In an accident I was involved in recently I sustained a whiplash injury and wanted to know if I could file for neck injury compensation?

Eoin P. Campbell, LL.B., Solicitor

Editor in Chief

Eoin P. Campbell

You may qualify for neck injury compensation if it can be proven that a negligent party was responsible for the accident and your injury. Assuming that you were completely innocent and did not contribute to the accident by not wearing your seatbelt, for example, and if it can be established that your injury was sustained as a direct result of the accident, you should be able to receive compensation for your injury.

It is worth noting, however, that due to the unpredictable nature of whiplash injuries, many insurance companies are reluctant to immediately accept their client’s liability, especially since the high volume of accidents that produce whiplash injuries has given way to false claims. This may make the process of seeking compensation more difficult but the opportunity of receiving the maximum amount would be greatly improved by engaging with the services of an experienced solicitor.

In order to support your neck injury compensation claim, some procedures should have been completed. Your health and safety should always be your first priority and you should have sought immediate medical attention from a professional medical examiner immediately after the accident – even if you did not consider your health to be compromised at the time. The reason for this urgency does not only apply to your health – any substantial gap between the date of the accident and the date your injury was noted in your medical history may lead to your compensation claims being contested by the negligent party’s insurers.

It would also have been advisable for you to exchange personal and insurance details with the person responsible for your accident and any other witnesses present. If you had a camera to hand, or a mobile phone with a camera function, it would have been advantageous if you had taken images of the scene. The Gardai would have done this if they had deemed the accident serious enough to attend. If they did not attend, however, the call reporting the accident would have been recorded, but you should also have visited the local Garda station and had the details of the accident noted in their “Accident Report Book”.

There is the possibility that the negligent party’s insurers approach you with an early offer of neck injury compensation, if they accept their client’s liability. These offers have a reputation for not sufficiently covering the amount of compensation the accident victim is entitled to, so you would be recommended to refer such an offer to a solicitor who can evaluate it and determine whether or not it accurately reflects your injury and the impact it has had on your life.

As most solicitors offer an initial consultation without charge, you would be well advised in speaking with one at the first possible moment following your accident, after you have been medically treated. In this consultation they can answer any questions you may have regarding your claim and they can advise you on whether you have a viable claim.