Whiplash is a term that describes a soft tissue injury to the spine from stretching and straining when the body is thrown forward and back in a sudden, jerking movement.
The injury most commonly occurs in car crashes involving sudden deceleration. A typical example is a rear end shunt accident where the impact of the vehicle behind causes the occupants of the vehicle in front to be thrown forward.
Symptoms and treatment
The most common complaints are pain and stiffness in the neck and back, and headaches. These symptoms appear within the first couple of days after the accident and often pass after a few days or more usually a few weeks. Sometimes, especially where the injured person has a pre-existing vulnerability, the whiplash symptoms can persist, and in rare cases can become chronic (‘whiplash syndome’).Treatment includes pain relief, rest and physiotherapy.
Osbornes personal injury lawyers will arrange for you to be seen by a medical expert for a report on your injuries. We will investigate with you what treatment you may need and will invite the insurers to participate in rehabilitation, funding physiotherapy for you where required.
Pedestrians crossing the road
Rights of pedestrians are well protected by the law. There is no offence of “jay walking” in this country and if a pedestrian is knocked down at traffic lights, on a crossing or other place where they should have been visible to oncoming traffic, there will usually be at least some fault on the part of the vehicle user.
Car Passenger Claims
There will almost always be a claim here as road accidents are invariably caused by someone’s negligence but the passenger will have been an innocent party.
Bus Passenger Claims
Bus drivers owe a duty to protect their passengers, especially the elderly and infirm, from avoidable injury.
Bus accidents often occur when passengers are thrown around in a bus that is driven away from a bus stop before they are seated or otherwise driven too fast or erratically. In these cases it is very important to note details of witnesses, and the bus number, the bus driver and operator.
Rear end shunt
These are common cases where one vehicle fails to brake and collides with the back of the vehicle in front. Almost always liability will rest with the driver of the vehicle behind.
Hit and Run
If the accident was a hit and run or if the other party was not insured then the case can still proceed but it will be dealt with by the Motor Insurers Bureau (MIB) rather than an insurance company.
Insurance is compulsory for nearly all motorised road vehicles. Most road accident claims are therefore directed to a motor insurer and they pay the compensation and costs in the successful cases.
Uninsured cases are run like any other personal injury claim but the MIB has a separate scheme for Hit and Run cases. Under this scheme court proceedings are not allowed and there are special rules governing eligibility, procedure and costs.
What you should do if you have been involved in a road traffic accident
Whether or not the other party is insured and because the Motor Insurers’ Bureau(MIB) have very strict time limits, it is very important that the following steps are taken after any accident.
- Take down the details of the other party at the scene, including name, address, telephone, insurance details and vehicle registration number.
- Report the matter to the police immediately. If for any reason this is not possible, report the accident in person to a police station as soon as you can (and get a police reference number) .
- Take details of any other party and any witnesses.
- Contact your own insurers, if relevant .
What you should do next?
On contacting us you will speak in confidence to a member of our personal injury team who will ask you specific details about your injury including where and when it took place. It is helpful to the claims process if you can provide us with as much information as possible, including any relevant pictures of the injury, pictures of where the injury took place, details of any witnesses and reports of any medical treatment you had as a result of the injury.
We will then be able to advise you on whether or not you can make a claim for compensation.