How Long After An Accident Can You Claim For Whiplash?

In this guide, we will explore the question ‘how long after an accident can you claim for whiplash?’. We will also cover the criteria for making a personal injury claim for whiplash following a road traffic accident and the evidence you could collect to support your claim.

how long after an accident can you claim for whiplash

How Long After An Accident Can You Claim For Whiplash?

Additionally, we will look at how the Whiplash Reform Programme has changed the way certain road users can claim for their injuries and whether you may be affected by these changes.

The guide will go on to give examples of typical payouts for whiplash claims. It will also discuss how the reforms could influence how much you are awarded for your whiplash injuries.

Finally, we will discuss the benefits of working with one of the road accident solicitors from our panel on a No Win No Fee basis and look at the services they could offer.

Our advisors are available to give you free, no-obligation advice 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. They can also connect you with our panel of personal injury solicitors should your claim be eligible.

To contact them, you can:

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How Long After An Accident Can You Claim For Whiplash?

The general time limit for personal injury claims is laid out in the Limitation Act 1980. It states you typically have three years from the date of your injury to begin your claim.

However, there are some exceptions to the three-year rule. Firstly, if the injured person was a child at the time of the accident or if the person does not have the mental capacity to make their own claim, the time limit is paused. Whilst it’s paused, a suitable adult could apply to the courts to make the claim on the injured person’s behalf. This means they would act as a litigation friend.

In cases where no claim has been made for a child by the time they turn 18, they will have three years to begin their own claim from this date. Similarly, in cases where no claim has been made for the party who has a reduced mental capacity, they will have three years from the date of recovery if they regain their capacity.

For more information on the time limit exceptions and whether these may apply to your specific circumstances, please get in touch using the number above. An advisor can provide further guidance on your question ‘how long after an accident can you claim for whiplash?’.

Whiplash Injury Claim Criteria

To make a personal injury claim after sustaining whiplash in a road traffic accident, you must prove that you were owed a duty of care and that it was breached by another road user, causing you physical and/or psychological harm.

Every road user owes their fellow road users a duty of care. This entails navigating the roads in a way that prevents others from experiencing harm on the roads. To do this, road users should follow the regulations set out in the Highway Code and the Road Traffic Act 1988.

If a road user breaches their duty of care and you are injured because of this breach, this is known as negligence which could give you grounds to claim compensation.

What Is The Whiplash Reform Programme?

In 2021, changes were made to the way low-value road traffic accident claims are made in England and Wales.

This means if you are over eighteen, have sustained soft tissue or whiplash injuries valued at £5,000 or less, and were the passenger or driver of a vehicle, you will have to claim differently. Also, your whiplash injuries will be valued in line with a tariff set out in The Whiplash Injury Regulations 2021.

If you sustained any other injuries in your road traffic accident that are not included in the tariff, they will be valued in the traditional way. Also, if you sustain any additional harm that increases the total value of your claim over £5,000, you will make your claim the traditional way. However, any whiplash injuries sustained will still be valued in accordance with the tariff.

To find out more about whether you’re eligible to seek whiplash injury compensation and how the reforms could affect your claim, contact one of our advisors today using the information above.

Proving Your Whiplash Claim

Gathering evidence to prove that negligence occurred is an important aspect of the claims process. Some steps you can take to collect sufficient evidence include:

  • Requesting CCTV footage of your road traffic accident
  • Taking down the contact details of any witnesses to your accident
  • Seeking medical assistance and requesting copies of your records
  • Starting a diary recording your symptoms and medical appointments
  • Taking pictures of your injury and the accident site

If you are unsure of where to access evidence to support your case, our panel of personal injury solicitors could assist you. To find out if you are eligible to claim with a solicitor, contact one of our advisors today.

Examples Of Payouts For Whiplash Injuries

If your claim succeeds, you could be compensated under two heads, these are known as general damages and special damages.

General damages compensate the claimant for the mental and/or physical pain and suffering they endured because of their injury. Our panel of personal injury lawyers can use the Judicial College Guidelines alongside any results from an independent medical examination to calculate how much an injury is worth.

Some of the figures in the table below are from these guidelines, but they are not a guarantee. The whiplash injuries at the top of the table, however, are from a set tariff outlined in the Whiplash Injury Regulations 2021.

Compensation Table

Injury Severity Guideline Compensation Bracket Notes
Whiplash injuries One or more whiplash injuries £4,215 Injury lasts more than 18 months, but not more than 24 months.
Whiplash injuries One or more whiplash injury and/or one or more minor psychological injuries. £3,100 Injury lasts more than 15 months, but not more than 18 months.
Neck Injuries Severe (a) (i) Around £148,330 A neck injury that involves incomplete paraplegia.
Neck Injuries Moderate (b) (i) £24,990 – £38,490 Cases where there have been immediate symptoms from fractures or dislocation resulting in a spinal fusion potentially being needed.
Back Injuries Severe (a) (iii) £38,780 – £69,730

Disc lesions or fractures as well as vertebral fractures are included in this bracket.
Back Injuries Moderate (b) (i) £27,760 – £38,780 Nerve root irritation and reduced mobility due to a damaged intervertebral disc.
Shoulder Injuries Severe (a) £19,200 – £48,030 A significant disability from a neck injury that involves brachial plexus damage.
Shoulder Injuries Serious (b) £12,770 – £19,200 A rotator cuff injury that causes ongoing issues even after surgery.

Special Damages

Special damages aim to return the claimant to the financial state they were in before they were injured. This award compensates for out-of-pocket costs you have incurred because of your injury.

As such, you could claim reimbursement for:

  • Costs of care
  • Medical costs
  • Costs of travel, such as transport to and from medical appointments
  • Current or future loss of earnings

To claim special damages, you must hold onto as much evidence as you can, such as bus tickets and medical bills.

To receive a more personalised estimation of the payout for whiplash you could be awarded if your case were to win, contact one of our advisors today.

Check How Long After An Accident You Can Claim For Whiplash With Our Team

Our panel of road traffic accident solicitors have years of experience and could help answer the question ‘how long after an accident can you claim for whiplash?’. Additionally, they can:

  • Help you gather evidence
  • Value your settlement
  • Speak with witnesses
  • Help you build and present your case in full

Additionally, they can offer you access to these services under a kind of No Win No Fee agreement called a Conditional Fee Agreement.

Under the terms of a CFA, you will not usually have to pay any fees upfront to enlist the solicitor’s services. As your claim proceeds, you will also not have to pay them for their ongoing services. If your case is unsuccessful, you will not owe them any fees for the work they have completed for you.

If your case succeeds, you will owe them a small fee deducted from your settlement. This success fee is restricted by The Conditional Fee Agreements Order 2013, so you will not be overcharged.

Talk To Our Team About Your Case

Our team of advisors can talk you through the process of making a whiplash claim with help from a solicitor. They are available 24/7.

To contact them, you can:

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We hope you have found this guide useful and that it answered the question, ‘how long after an accident can you claim for whiplash?’. To be put in touch with an advisor for free advice, reach out using the contact details above.

Writer HG

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