I Was Hit From Behind In A Car Accident – Can I Claim For Whiplash?

By Max Malkovich. Last Updated 28th June 2022. If while in a car you have been in an accident whereby you were hit from behind and suffered whiplash, you may be considering making a personal injury claim. But just what is involved in making a claim, how do you know whether you’re eligible, and how do you prove who is at fault? These questions and more are answered in this guide.

Rear End Collision Whiplash Injury Claims

Below, we offer some useful information about rear end collision whiplash claims. We provide information about whiplash injuries, answering questions such as ‘How long after an accident do you get whiplash?’ and ‘What is the best treatment for whiplash?’

We also answer questions such as ‘Are you always at fault in a rear end collision?’ and ‘How much compensation do you get for whiplash?’

We hope you find the guidance below useful. If you have any questions about rear end collisions and whiplash injuries, or you’d like to begin a claim and are looking for a lawyer to help you, please call us.

We could check your eligibility to claim and connect you with a solicitor from our panel that could help you get the compensation you deserve. You can reach us on 0161 696 9685.

Jump To A Section

A Guide To Car Accident Hit From Behind Whiplash Claims

Car accident hit from behind whiplash claims guide

Car accident hit from behind whiplash claims guide

If you’ve had a car accident and been hit from behind, whiplash is one injury you might be at risk of suffering.

A rear end collision and whiplash sometimes go hand in hand, but how do you know who is at fault and whether you could claim for your injury?

This whiplash car accident guide has been created to help you if you’ve suffered whiplash after being hit from behind. In it, we explain what a whiplash injury is, how it could happen, and when you could make a claim for such an injury.

We also provide information on the claims process, and how using the services of a legal professional could benefit your claim.

When Could I Make A Claim For A Car Accident Injury?

Whether you were a passenger or a driver, if a car accident was not your fault and you’ve suffered injuries from it, you could claim compensation from the liable party. In some cases, you might be claiming from the insurance company of the person that caused the accident. If they do not have insurance, you may have to claim from your own insurance company.

In some cases, however, if the other driver doesn’t have insurance or has fled the scene, and you only have third-party insurance, it may be appropriate for you to claim through the Motor Insurance Bureau.

With all these possibilities open to you, and restrictions such as claiming within the personal injury claims time limit that is appropriate for your claim, it is no wonder that many people prefer to use a solicitor to help them make a claim, rather than going it alone.

This guide also explores how you could get legal assistance from a personal injury lawyer without having to pay them any fees until your compensation has been paid.

What Are Rear End Car Crashes?

A rear end collision, simply put, is when something crashes into the back of your car. While in this guide we are concentrating on road traffic accidents, these types of collisions could happen on theme park rides, or in other situations where a moving object comes into contact with the back of you.

What Kind Of Injuries Can Result From A Rear End Collision?

There are various injuries that could result from a rear end collision. These include:

  • Whiplash
  • Spinal fractures
  • Slipped discs
  • Spinal cord injuries

How Can You Get Whiplash From Being Rear Ended?

A rear end collision causing whiplash could occur when a car that is travelling forward hits the back of a stationary car. In such an accident, due to the forces involved, there could be a risk of soft tissue injuries to the neck from the head jerking sharply backwards or forwards, or to the side.

In some cases, where the car behind was travelling slowly, the forces involved in a rear end collision may not be violent enough to produce injuries. However, in some cases, a rear end collision could cause whiplash injuries or more serious injuries to the neck and back.

What Are Side Swipe Accidents?

Side swipe accidents are another type of accident that could cause a whiplash injury. These are accidents where the side of one vehicle makes contact with the side of another. While these may not cause the head to snap forward and backwards, they could result in the head jerking to one side, which could cause a whiplash injury.

What Are Whiplash Injuries?

A whiplash injury occurs due to accidents where the head (which is supported by the ligaments and muscles in the neck) is forced to jerk sharply. It is what is known as an acceleration/deceleration injury.

The forces at play in a rear end collision could lead to whiplash as they could strain the cervical muscles.

What Are The Symptoms Of Whiplash?

If you’ve been in a car accident in which you were hit from behind, whiplash injury symptoms may not be immediately noticeable. They may come on after some time has passed from the initial accident, and may include:

  • Neck pain
  • Stiffness in the neck
  • Difficulty moving your head
  • Headache
  • Muscle spasms in the shoulders and arms
  • Pain in the shoulders and arms

If you experience symptoms such as severe pain that cannot be alleviated with paracetamol or ibuprofen, electric-shock type symptoms in your back, face or neck, pins and needles or tingling in one or both sides of the body, weakness in the arms or legs, or problems walking or sitting upright, you should seek urgent medical treatment.

What Are The Treatment Options For Whiplash?

There are various treatments that could be used to alleviate the symptoms of whiplash following a rear end collision and to help you recover. These include:

  • Painkillers – these could include ibuprofen and paracetamol
  • Stronger painkillers – if your doctor believes you would benefit from it, they may prescribe you with codeine if paracetamol and ibuprofen isn’t working
  • Physiotherapy
  • Psychological support
  • Pain management treatments

What Are The Causes Of Whiplash?

According to a government report, when muscles are subjected to mechanical loads, they try to counteract such loads and maintain proper posture. The larger the load on the neck,  the greater the response of the muscle, which leads to a greater tensile load.

While there is no consensus amongst the medical community as to how the motion of the head and neck lead to whiplash, there are various hypotheses as to how the injury develops, including:

  • Hyperextension injury mechanism – a hyperextension of the neck is thought to produce the sort of forces that could cause haemorrhage, musculoligamentous tearing, disc fibre damage and fracture of the vertebral body.
  • Facet joint involvement – another suggestion of where the whiplash pain comes from is from the facet capsule between the facet joint surfaces
  • Spinal cord pressure – one hypothesis of where whiplash pain comes from is increased spinal column pressure, which could apply pressure on nerve roots.

Whatever the cause of your whiplash injury, if someone else could be held liable for it, you could claim compensation for not only the pain and suffering that you’ve experienced but also any expenses that have arisen as a direct result of your injuries.

Medical Evidence For Whiplash Claims

If you were in a car accident and were hit from behind causing a whiplash injury, you would need to provide evidence of your injuries in order to claim for them.

We would advise anyone who has been in a car accident to seek medical advice on managing their injuries from a medical professional. That way, not only could there be a record of you reporting the incident and your injuries to a professional, you could also benefit from their advice.

However, as part of a personal injury claim, you would also have to have your injuries verified by an independent medical expert. You would be required to attend an appointment where you would be examined and asked you about your injuries. They would then produce a medical report that could be used to evidence your claim.

How Low Speed Rear End Collisions Could Cause Whiplash

If you have been in a collision at low speed, you may think that a car accident where you were hit from behind wouldn’t cause whiplash. However, this is not necessarily the case.

These types of accidents—which could be referred to as a low velocity impact—could still cause whiplash. In fact, whiplash injuries have been reported in incidents where the other driver was travelling at speeds as low as 5 mph.

Therefore, if you are involved in a low speed rear end collision, whiplash could still be caused. This is why it could be important to take down the details of the incident and make sure it is reported, in case symptoms of whiplash present later on.

What Are The Causes Of Rear End Collisions

The most common causes of rear end collisions could include:

  • A driver behind you who was driving too fast
  • A driver following too close (tailgating)
  • A driver exceeding the speed limit
  • A driver failing to look properly
  • A driver failing to judge your path or speed
  • A driver failing to brake
  • A slippery road surface

If it could be proved that another road user was at fault for a rear end collision, you could make a claim against them for injuries caused by their behaviour or negligence.

Who Is At Fault In Rear End Collisions?

While there may be an assumption that all drivers that crash into others from behind could be considered at fault for rear end collisions, there may be some exceptions to this.

Although rule 126 of the Highway Code tells drivers to leave adequate space between the front of your vehicle and the back of another in case it stops suddenly, in some cases, the operator of the vehicle could be seen as being at fault if they:

  • Slammed on their brakes unexpectedly and suddenly to annoy or harass another driver
  • Drove too slowly
  • Failed to indicate a lane change or turn
  • Drove aggressively
  • Merged in front of you dangerously
  • Failed to pull over and put hazard lights on when they broke down
  • Reversed suddenly
  • Had brake lights that were broken/faulty

Whiplash Claim – Top Tips on Getting Compensation

If you want to claim for a car injury, such as whiplash, you will need to prove that your injury was caused by third-party negligence. To do this successfully, evidence is crucial. Evidence that can be used to prove a car accident injury includes:

  • Photographic evidence of your injury and the accident site
  • CCTV footage. This footage can show the series of events that led to you being hit by a car.
  • The details of any potential witnesses. A solicitor can contact them as part of the claims process to take a statement.
  • Medical evidence to show the extent of your injury. Your doctor will make notes about your injury which you can use to highlight aspects like your prognosis.
  • A detailed account of your injury and your recovery. This can help illustrate how the injury has negatively impacted you.

Furthermore, it’s important to note that there has been a change in procedure in relation to claiming for a whiplash injury. If you’re a driver or passenger in a vehicle in England and Wales and suffer an injury that is worth £5,000 or less, you would need to claim using an online portal. This is detailed in The Whiplash Injury Regulations 2021.

If your injury is worth £5,000 or more, you would still claim through the normal method. To learn more about how to claim for an injury from a car accident, please contact us for free using the details above.

A Car Hit Me From Behind – Whose Fault Is It In The UK?

If you have sustained injuries because a car hit you from behind, trying to prove whose fault it is in the UK may be complex. Although it may generally be assumed to be the fault of the driver that hit you from behind, there are exceptions. It may be advisable to seek legal advice, though you are not required to do so. If you call our advisors, they can give you free legal advice and present you with your options. They are also able to connect you with a solicitor from our panel, who could potentially help you with a car accident claim.

Compensation After a Car Accident

If you have been hit by a car, and have determined that someone else is at fault, you may be able to claim. Your claims settlement can be made up of not only general damages but also special damages. General damages covers the pain and suffering due to your injury while special damages can reimburse you for financial losses incurred as a result of the harm you sustained.

Solicitors use the compensation amounts from the Judicial College Guidelines, as well as any evidence you may provide, to help them value your claim for compensation after a car accident.

We have used figures from the JCG in the table below. The payout for your car accident claim may not be the same as those shown in the table below, but will be determined by the circumstances surrounding your accident.

Type of InjuryCompensation Bracket (JCG)Explanatory Notes
Neck Injuries (Severe) (i)In the region of £148,330
Neck injuries in this bracket include those that are associated with paraplegia that's incomplete leading to spastic quadriparesis that's permanent.
Neck Injuries (Severe) (ii)£65,740 to £130,930
Injuries might include damage to cervical spine discs or serious fractures leading to disabilities.
Neck Injuries (Severe) (iii)£45,470 to £55,990
Neck injuries in this bracket include dislocations, fractures or severe soft tissue damage.
Neck injuries (Moderate) (i)£24,990 to £38,490
This bracket includes injuries such as dislocations.
Neck injuries (Moderate) (ii)£13,740 to £24,990

This bracket includes cases of injuries that have accelerated and/or exacerbated a pre-existing conditions.
Neck injuries (Moderate) (iii)£7,890 to £13,740
Injuries in this bracket include moderate soft tissue injuries.
Back Injuries (Severe) (iii)£38,780 to £69,730
This bracket includes cases of disc lesions and soft tissue injuries that lead to chronic conditions.
Back Injuries (Moderate) (i)£27,760 to £38,780

Injuries include damage to an intervertebral disc with irritation to the nerve roots that causes problems with mobility.
Shoulder injuries (Severe) (a)£19,200 to £48,030Injuries to the shoulder that often involve damage to the neck and brachial plexus.
Shoulder injuries (Serious) (b)£12,770 to £19,200Cases such as a shoulder dislocation with lower brachial plexus damage.

However, to receive a more accurate estimate in line with your personal situation, get in touch with our knowledgeable team. Once they know about your claim they can work toward a more precise estimate.

What Expenses Or Losses Could I Be Compensated For?

While the table in the section above covers the compensation awards that could be given for the suffering and pain caused by your injuries, you may also have incurred expenses or losses. These could also be compensated for within a personal injury claim.

Some of the special damages (compensation for expenses caused by your injuries) you could claim could include:

  • Loss of income – sometimes, if a claimant has taken time off work to recover from a whiplash injury, they may lose out on some of their income. This could be claimed within a personal injury case.
  • Medical expenses – if medical expenses had been incurred by the claimant for prescription medicines, physiotherapy, or counselling, for example, these expenses could also be claimed for.
  • Care costs – if a severe injury had led to a claimant needing care in their own home, care costs could also be included within a claim.
  • Travel expenses – from transport to see a lawyer to travelling to hospital appointments, there are also a variety of travel costs that could be claimed for.

It is crucial to keep any proof you have of any expenses that you intend to claim for. Providing bank statements, payslips, receipts and bills detailing these expenses to your personal injury lawyer could ensure you don’t miss out on any of the compensation you could be entitled to claim.

No Win No Fee Car Accident Hit From Behind Whiplash

If you’ve had a car accident where you were hit from behind and suffered whiplash, and you want help from a personal injury solicitor to make a claim for compensation, you might be worried about legal fees. However, there is a way you could go forward with a rear end collision whiplash claim without paying for legal support upfront.

No Win No Fee claims allow people in any financial situation to benefit from professional legal support without having to pay any fees to their solicitor until their case has been settled, and a compensation settlement has been paid. The way in which they work is as follows:

  1. The claimant would sign a document known as a Conditional Fee Agreement. This agreement would effectively promise the lawyer a small success fee if they obtained a compensation payout for the claimant. The fee would be capped and would usually represent a percentage of the claimant’s payout.
  2. The lawyer, upon receiving the signed agreement, could then proceed with the case.
  3. Once a compensation settlement had been paid, the success fee would go to the lawyer, and the balance of the compensation payout would be for the claimant’s benefit.
  4. If no compensation was agreed, the claimant would not be expected to pay the lawyer’s success fee. Nor would they pay the lawyer’s costs incurred as a result of pursuing their claim.

If you would like to make a whiplash car accident claim under No Win No Fee terms, Legal Helpline could connect you with a lawyer that could help you. We could also answer any questions you might have about the terms of a Conditional Fee Agreement, or anything else you’d like to ask about No Win No Fee claims.

Contact Legal Helpline Today

If you’ve had a no-fault car accident, were hit from behind and had a whiplash injury, we’d be happy to help you. We could assess your case to check your eligibility to make a rear end collision whiplash claim and could connect you with the legal support you’re looking for.

All you need to do is contact us. There are a number of ways in which you could do so:

Quick Links

Check out more of our car accident claims guides below:

Consultation On Whiplash Claims – This article from the Ministry of Justice gives information on the consultation on reforms for whiplash claims.

The Highway Code – Here, you can find the Highway Code in full.

Neck Pain  – The NHS has produced a guide to help you if you are suffering from neck pain. It offers advice on when to seek treatment.


Guide by JS

Edited by REG