Whiplash Recovery Time And Claims Guide – How Long Does Whiplash Last For In Order To Claim Compensation?

By Christine Anthony. Last Updated 18th February 2021. Welcome to our guide to whiplash recovery time. Whiplash is one of the most common injuries sustained in a road traffic accident. If the accident was caused by somebody else, you could be entitled to compensation and you could be represented by a No Win No Fee personal injury lawyer. One of the factors that could determine how much compensation you may be entitled to receive in a successful whiplash claim is the time it takes you to recover from the injury you sustained. Therefore, this guide looks at what could affect the time it takes to recover from whiplash, how it could impact the amount of whiplash compensation you could receive, and what you could include in a compensation claim against a responsible party.

Whiplash recovery time

Whiplash recovery time

Legal Helpline is specialists in making personal injury claims but are not medical specialists. Therefore, the information we provide regarding whiplash recovery time is not intended to be viewed as medical advice. We always recommend that you seek advice from your GP or a local hospital if you sustain whiplash in any sort of accident.

We’re personal injury claim specialists and our advisers can answer any questions you may have and will provide free legal advice. We offer a no-obligation assessment of any claim and could introduce you to one of our No Win No Fee solicitors if your case is deemed strong enough. Therefore, to begin your claim right away, please call 0161 696 9685 today.

Alternatively, to find out more about whiplash recovery before contacting us, please continue reading.

Choose A Section

A Guide To Whiplash Recovery Times

When a personal injury lawyer takes on a whiplash claim, there are a number of factors they will take into account when working out how much compensation the claimant could be entitled to. This includes the injuries sustained, the amount of suffering caused, the impact the injuries would have on a person’s future life, the time taken for full recovery after whiplash, and their ability to return to work.

This guide looks at the causes of whiplash, the symptoms, the effects, and what could speed up or delay whiplash recovery time. We answer some common questions such as:

  • Will whiplash heal on its own?
  • How do you relieve whiplash pain?
  • How long does it take to recover from a whiplash injury?

We provide some whiplash recovery tips and advice from the NHS on what to do, and not do if you are unlucky enough to suffer a whiplash injury.

Something to bear in mind about whiplash injury claims is the time limit to filing a case against a responsible party, This is normally  3 years from the date of the accident in which you sustained a whiplash injury. However, the 3-year time limit may start from the date you were diagnosed as suffering from a condition linked to the whiplash injury you sustained. Therefore, we recommend you get in touch with us as soon as possible following an accident to ensure a solicitor has enough time to gather evidence to support your claim or you may run the risk of your whiplash personal injury claim being time-barred.

Finally, if you’re going to proceed, you’ll need evidence to support your whiplash claim. Therefore, we recommend that you:

  • Visit your GP or A&E for an assessment of your injuries. This is important because medical records prove what injuries were sustained
  • Photograph the scene of the accident before anything is removed or repaired
  • Take witnesses details and ask for statements
  • Look for CCTV or dashcam footage that captured the accident

A doctor can truly assess your whiplash recovery time, but we can help you understand your claim through free legal advice. Call today.

What Are The Causes Of Whiplash?

The cause of whiplash is when the head is moved forward then backwards quickly. As a result, the ligaments and tendons in the neck are stretched and torn. These injuries are known as whiplash. While we talk about road traffic accidents (car crashes) a lot when referring to whiplash injuries, this type of injury can be sustained in a number of other accidents. These includes:

  • Falls
  • Blows to the head
  • Injuries caused by contact sports
  • Cycling accidents
  • Physical abuse

In fact, whiplash can occur in any form of low-speed collision whether it’s a front or rear-impact crash.

Whiplash Symptoms And Recovery

There are a number of symptoms, both common and less common, which could indicate whiplash. As well as nerve damage, whiplash can cause soft tissue damage. A doctor may be able to assess your whiplash recovery time by assessing the symptoms you are experiencing.

According to the NHS, common whiplash symptoms include:

  • Headaches of any severity
  • Difficulty with head movements because of stiffness in the neck
  • General neck pain
  • Pain and/or muscle spasms in the shoulders and arms

The NHS recommends you take paracetamol or ibuprofen to manage pain and now recommend that you do not use a neck brace because they don’t help.

However, the more serious and less common symptoms include:

  • Pins and needles or tingle on either side of your body
  • Either your legs or arms feeling weak
  • Extreme pain even though you’ve taken painkillers
  • A sudden shock (like an electric shock) in your back or neck
  • Trouble walking or sitting upright

These injuries could be linked to nerve damage in the neck or back and could result in a longer whiplash recovery time.

Even though the NHS recommends using over the counter medication to treat the pain caused by whiplash, we recommend that you always visit your GP as soon as possible. That’s because when they assess you, they might spot conditions other than whiplash that would require treatment. Furthermore, the medical report produced following your assessment would be used as evidence by your personal injury solicitor to help support your claim and to assess the level of general damages you may be awarded in a successful whiplash claim.

What May Be The Short Or Long Term Effects Of Whiplash?

Many of the symptoms described above could be deemed as short-term effects of whiplash injures. However, as well as physical injuries, some short-term cognitive issues caused by whiplash could include:

  • Being easily distracted
  • Becoming easily irritated
  • Difficulty concentrating

Here are some of the more potential long-term effects of whiplash:

  • Dizziness over a long period of time
  • Insomnia or difficulty sleeping
  • Upper and lower back pain
  • Severe headaches
  • Tiredness and fatigue
  • Weakness or numbness in the arms, hands or legs

Whiplash Recovery – Can Symptoms Get Worse Over Time?

In most cases, recovery after a whiplash injury can begin in just a few weeks. However, there are times where you could find that symptoms are prolonged and may get worse over time.

Some risk factors include:

  • Older age
  • An existing condition which affects the back or neck
  • Having previously suffered from whiplash injuries
  • Where treatment wasn’t received early enough
  • If you’ve suffered a serious disc injury, neck injury or back injury
  • Your condition could get worse if you suffer another injury to your neck during the healing process

Does Diagnosis And Treatment Affect Whiplash Recovery Times?

In general, it’s quite difficult to predict the whiplash recovery time and how severe the pain could be, but there are some indicators which might suggest you’re likely to suffer chronic pain and therefore, you may require more intense treatment. These include:

  • Early symptoms which started rapidly and were intense
  • If you suffered severe neck pain
  • Where the pain spread into the arms
  • And also, if you suffered headaches caused by the whiplash injuries

Will Whiplash Heal On Its Own?

If you suffer a minor whiplash injury, the symptoms may be minor and recovery time, therefore, shorter. In fact, any symptoms could resolve themselves in a matter of weeks. However, for more severe whiplash injuries, medical attention must be sought to ensure you get the right treatment, stronger pain relief and to rule out any other injuries or health issues.

While whiplash symptoms might include a minor strain or sprain, the pain could mask more serious issues. Therefore, medical intervention would help ensure you receive the correct treatment as early as possible which could help reduce the whiplash recovery time while at the same time treating any other health issues.

Whiplash symptoms may well recover on their own over time. However, in some circumstances, they can be made worse if medical treatment or a correct assessment doesn’t happen as soon as possible.

Predicting Whiplash Recovery Times

A study has shown that the amount of pain caused by whiplash that lasts over a period of three weeks after an accident, is a good indicator of how long whiplash recovery time could be. The doctor responsible for the study suggested that if the pain is scored at 5 or less out of 10, you’re likely to recover from whiplash more quickly than if the score is over five.

Also, the report went on to suggest that people with a positive mindset regarding their outcome, recover more quickly than those were negative.

Obviously, this is just one study, but it gives an idea of when a faster recovery from whiplash injuries might be possible.

Source: www.webmd.com/pain-management/news/20080122/whiplash-what-predicts-recovery#1

Compensation Calculator When Recovering After Whiplash

We’re often asked how much compensation is awarded in whiplash claims. It is difficult to say until your claim has been assessed by a personal injury solicitor because every case is unique, and the whiplash could affect each claimant differently.

However, to give you an idea of how much compensation could be awarded for some specific injuries, we’ve provided the personal injuries compensation table below:

Body PartSeverityRange of CompensationFurther details
Shoulder MinorUp to £2,300Shoulder injuries including soft tissue damage where full recovery occurs within 3 months.
Shoulder MinorFrom £2,300 to £4,080Shoulder injuries including soft tissue damage where full recovery occurs in less than 1 year.
Shoulder MinorFrom £4,080 to £7,410Shoulder injuries including soft tissue damagewhere full recovery occurs in less than 2 years
Shoulder ModerateFrom £7,410 to £11,980Frozen shoulder causing limited movement and soft tissue injuries lasting more than 2-years are included in this bracket.
NeckMinorUp to £2,300Neck injuries such as soft tissue damage injuries where full recovery occurs within 3 months.
Neck MinorFrom £2,300 to £4,080Neck injuries such as soft tissue damage injuries where full recovery occurs within a year.
Neck MinorFrom £4,080 to £7,410Neck injuries such as soft tissue damage injuries where full recovery occurs between 1 and 2 years.
Neck ModerateFrom £23,460 to £36,120This compensation bracket inlcudes Injuries such as fractures and dislocations that mayy require spinal fusion.

You should bear in mind that this table represents a single element of your claim. The figures come from a document known as the Judicial College Guidelines which insurers, courts and solicitors use to work out compensation amounts.

As you can see, injuries are graded by the severity of your injuries and compensated accordingly. Therefore, it’s essential that your solicitor provides evidence to back up your claims. Our solicitors insist on a medical assessment by an independent doctor who would provide a report which details the extent of your injuries, the impact and any lasting effects you’re likely to suffer. This report, in conjunction with other evidence, is used to ensure you are compensated properly for the whiplash injuries you sustained.

For more on how whiplash recovery time and other factors could influence your compensation, call our friendly advisors.

Special Damages You Could Claim For Whiplash Injuries

In the previous section, the table showed compensation paid under the heading ‘General Damages’. This is compensation paid for pain, suffering and loss of amenity caused by your injuries. However, it’s really important to understand that general damages are just one part of your claim. Other ‘special damages’ can also be claimed. These include:

  • Care Costs
    If your injures are severe enough that you require professional care to help you recover properly, you could include these costs in your claim. Also, if a family member cares for you, it is sometimes possible to claim for their time too
  • Medical Costs
    You might think that the NHS will cover any medical costs associated with your injuries. While it’s true that they’ll usually provide the treatment you require for free, you could end up paying for multiple prescriptions. Also, there might be additional costs like over the counter medicines. Finally, in rare cases, you may require expensive private health treatment which might also be claimed back
  • Travelling Costs
    While you’re recovering from your injuries, you might need to travel to and from your doctor’s surgery for treatment. Also, you might have to make alternative travel arrangements if your injuries leave you unable to drive. Therefore, any additional travelling costs could be claimed back
  • Lost Earnings
    When you need to take time off work to recover or to attend medical appointments, you might find that you lose money if your employer doesn’t pay full sick pay. If that’s the case, you could claim any lost income. In more serious cases, where your injuries are long-term, you could include future lost earnings in your claim
  • Damaged Property – If any item of personal property is damaged in your accident, you could claim the cost of repairing it or replacing it. 

Special Damages Advice

These special damages are paid to ensure that you don’t lose out financially and to make sure you are no worse off than you were prior to the accident. To help prove special damages, you must keep any receipts, car park tickets or bank statements to prove your expenditure. We also recommend keeping a diary because when it comes to explaining them to your solicitor, it can be very easy to forget why you spent the money. Having a diary will make it much easier.

Finally, if you’re unsure whether you’re likely to be able to ask for the cost of something back in your claim, ask your solicitor. They’ll have the experience to help decide whether you’re likely to receive the money back or not.

Special damages might not be affected by your whiplash recovery time, but general damages might be influenced by it through your medical assessment. Get in touch via our online chat to learn more.

No Win No Fee Whiplash Damages Claims

A major reason why people don’t make a compensation claim is because they worry about the costs associated with hiring a legal team to represent them. That’s why our solicitors work on a No Win No Fee basis. Not only does this reduce the financial risk associated with claiming, it also reduces stress levels too.

When a solicitor agrees to take your claim on a No Win No Fee basis, they’ll provide you with a Conditional Fee Agreement (or CFA). Having this contract is really useful because it clearly states that you won’t have to pay the solicitor’s fees unless you receive compensation in a successful whiplash claim against a responsible party.

When compensation is awarded, a ‘success fee’ is deducted from your compensation before you receive it. This is used to cover the solicitor’s work. The exact success fee you’ll pay is detailed in the CFA. The good thing about paying a success fee this way is that you don’t need to have the funds available to pay the solicitor yourself.

No Win No Fee Solicitors Services

If you’ve ever wondered what’s included in a No Win No Fee service, take a look at the list below:

  • First of all, your claim will be assessed for free. Then you’ll either be introduced to a solicitor or provided with advice about what else you need to do before you can claim
  • When you and the solicitor are both happy to proceed, the solicitor will advise what evidence you need to provide and assist you with obtaining it
  • Then they’ll arrange a medical assessment for you
  • After that, the claim will be compiled and sent on to the defendant in the case
  • The solicitor will handle all communication with the defendant, their insurer or their solicitor so you don’t need to get involved
  • If a settlement offer is received, you’ll get advice from the solicitor about how you should proceed
  • Finally, in very rare cases that can’t be settled, your solicitor will represent you in any court action that’s required

To find out whether you could claim on a No Win No Fee basis, please call our advisers for a free assessment of your claim.

Talk To Legal Helpline About Your Whiplash Injury

We hope, now that you’ve read this guide about whiplash recovery time, that you’re ready to begin your claim using Legal Helpline. If so, we can be contacted by:

  • Telephone: You can call an adviser directly on our accident helpline. The number is 0161 696 9685
  • Online: If you’d prefer us to call you back, please complete this online form
  • Live Chat: You can connect with an adviser if you prefer to chat online from any page on this site

We can be contacted 24-hours a day and 7-days a week. Remember that we’ll start by offering a free assessment of your claim. If your claim is strong enough and has a chance of being won, we could introduce you to one of our solicitors.

When you use Legal Helpline to make a personal injury claim, you’ll get a solicitor who’s had up to 3 decades of experience handling all sorts of claim, including those for whiplash injuries. They’ll keep you updated regularly as your claim advances. Furthermore, if you receive an offer to settle the claim, they’ll explain your options.

Please get in touch today to receive free legal advice and a no-obligation assessment of your claim.

Essential Links

Thanks for taking the time to read this whiplash recovery time guide. For your information, we’ve linked to some more guides as well as external links and resources that we think you’ll find useful below.

The Motor Insurers’ Bureau – The MIB is an organisation financed by the insurance company. It means that it’s possible to claim compensation even if you’re involved in a hit and run incident or if the other driver is not insured.

Whiplash Information – This guide is written by NHS Wales. It covers the symptoms, diagnosis and treatment of whiplash.

Soft Tissue Injury Claims Process – A government consultation on the way in which soft tissue injury claims, such as whiplash, are processed. This has been carried out so that the impact on insurance costs can be assessed.

Road Traffic Accident Compensation Claims

To find out more about how to claim after an accident on the road, read our guide. 

Passenger Injury Claims

You could claim even if you were a passenger in an accident. Read our guide to find out how.

Compensation through the Motor Insurers’ Bureau

Being the victim of an accident a negligent driver caused doesn’t mean you can’t claim. Our guide could help you.

Whiplash Recovery Time FAQs

What is the fastest way to recover from whiplash?

We always advise you to speak to your doctor or a medical professional about recovery times specific to your injury, but, according to the NHS, you can use an ice pack, mild exercises and good posture to aid recovery.

What is the average settlement payout for whiplash injury?

Settlement amounts for whiplash sufferers vary on a case by case basis. This is because your injuries may require more compensation than others and you may have lost out financially because of the injuries more than others. This would mean you are, again, compensated with more.

How much compensation do you get for whiplash with physiotherapy UK?

Whiplash injuries can be compensated for differing amounts but if you paid for your own physiotherapy or part of it, you could claim the costs back. This is providing you weren’t liable for the accident that caused the injuries. 

Thank you for reading our guide to whiplash recovery time.

Article by BH

Editor HW