Due to the forces involved with the impact of most motor vehicle accidents, people can suffer substantial injuries.
A sudden strong-jerking motion often may result in a person suffering a whiplash-type injury to their neck, middle and/or lower back. These injuries can be significant, even though initially, it may not seem too serious.
It is important to ensure that if you do suffer such an injury, and you wish to lodge a claim, you should seek legal advice as soon as possible.
How much is a whiplash claim worth?
This depends entirely on the extent of the injuries, how they affect the individual and whether they are long-lasting.
Statistics retained by the Motor Accident Insurance Commission show that on average, the payout for whiplash injuries when people represent themselves is less than $10,000.
For claims in which people retain a lawyer, the claim is up to 10 times greater than this, and averages between $50, 000 and $80,000. Some claims which lawyers pursue can be worth substantially more than this.
In a decision handed down by the Supreme Court of Queensland in Martin v Andrews & Anor  QSC 20, the judge awarded to an injured person, the sum of $1, 282, 572.10 for injuries sustained of whiplash nature from a motor vehicle accident.
In that case, the plaintiff, or claimant, suffered soft tissue injury to his neck and lower back. The evidence obtained at trial showed that he had substantial ongoing pain due to his injuries. It also proved that he was physically unable to continue in employment and required ongoing medical care and treatment.
It is often important when a whiplash injury is sustained to ensure you seek appropriate medical treatment as soon as possible. X-rays, scans, or MRI scans can be undertaken to ensure that there is no structural damage. A doctor can then provide a diagnosis as to what type of injury has been sustained, and therefore work out a course of treatment.
Generally, if the injuries are of a soft tissue or ligament injury, then the recognised form of treatment is physiotherapy.
Doctors usually recommend commencing physiotherapy once the initial trauma has subsided. This can assist in the overall recovery and can help in alleviating in some of the pain as well.
Despite receiving the treatment, however, the ongoing effects from an accident can be long-lasting.
Studies have shown that generally, whiplash from a motor vehicle accident, the injured person may be thrown upwards and forwards, or in different angles.
This results in forces being applied to the body which it is not usually exposed to. This causes and can create ongoing issues which are long-lasting and are difficult to treat.
Parts of the body affected
Whiplash injuries are usually sustained to the neck or lower back, but can also affect different parts of the body. It may well be the case that there may be an initial feeling of pain in certain areas, and this may be the dominant or main focus immediately following the accident. It may well be that there are other underlying issues or other areas which have sustained injuries which may not immediately become apparent.
Various types of investigation
In treating a whiplash injury, there is no 1 universal method which has proven to be effective in every case of treatment. It is very much done on an individual basis. Typically, the type of treatment a person may receive is as follows;
- Pain medication
- Massage or physical therapy
- Chiropractic or manipulative therapy
- Heat or ice therapy
- Cortisone injections
- Surgery – if required
Obtaining a proper diagnosis
It is essential if you are pursuing a personal injury claim, that a proper diagnosis is given by a suitably qualified specialist. This should not be done too early after the accident, as generally speaking, from a medical perspective, doctors are unlikely to give a long-term view on a person’s injury until they have received appropriate treatment and a period of time has passed.
It is important not to rush into a settlement in circumstances where the injuries have not been properly assessed or considered.
If you require any assistance with regards to your whiplash claim, please do not hesitate to contact our office.
We welcome all initial enquiries on an obligation-free basis!