Claim Answers: I was rear-ended by another car and now have a sore neck and other clear signs of whiplash. At the time, I only exchanged insurance details with the other driver. What are my chances of claiming compensation for whiplash?

What are my chances of claiming compensation for whiplash?
Eoin P. Campbell
Eoin P. Campbell, LL.B., Solicitor
Editor in Chief

The very first thing you need to do is seek proper medical attention. Whiplash is actually much more serious that most people realise. It’s perfectly normal that you didn’t feel the negative effects of whiplash immediately so that’s not a problem. But whiplash can have a long term negative impact on your life – imagine having back pain for the rest of your life. Not only do you need to see your doctor to obtain the necessary medical treatment, but you also need the medical records if you wish to claim compensation. As well as being a medical necessity to follow the full treatment instructions of your doctor (and probably your physiotherapist), you also need to have a full written records of your treatments. You should also strictly follow any medical instructions regarding your lifestyle. For example, if your medical treatment results in you felling better and you decide to ignore the medical advice restart a sporting activity, this can have a serious negative impact on your compensation claim as well as risking a relapse. The third important element of your medical records is the prognosis (the medical term for likely outcome of a illness) for the future. The good news is that the prognosis for people suffering whiplash is generally very good, especially with proper medical treatment. However, whiplash can result in longer term medical conditions such spinal cord damage, spinal arthritis, permanent neck pain, and even chronic pain and headaches.

As well as the immediate medical treatment for your whiplash, you also need to be able to demonstrate the impact of your condition on your lifestyle. In this particular case, the advice of your solicitor is essential. Your solicitor may even ask you to keep a personal journal to help you document things like common household activities that you now find difficult or hobbies that you can no longer pursue.

Since the actual whiplash physical injury is very difficult to prove, your solicitor will use a combination of your medical treatment records and his notes about the impact of your condition on your lifestyle to build and pursue your case for compensation.