The government are planning to ban the right to claim for whiplash injuries or capping the amount that can be awarded for a whiplash claim.
We live in a society where people have adopted the view that "where there is blame there is a claim" and where whiplash claims are generally perceived as "crash for cash" claims. However, this is not the case and for the majority of people pursuing a claim for personal injuries, including whiplash, their main reason for doing so is the impact it has on their everyday life.
We have all probably at some point woken up with a stiff neck and throughout the day in gets worse and you feel unable to turn your head in certain directions and can even take a couple of days to completely resolve. However for a person suffering from whiplash they experience similar symptoms but in addition to the stiffness suffer pain and these symptoms can be radiated to the shoulders and back. Often whiplash injuries can cause headaches with the injuries lasting several months.
Whilst the general perception of whiplash claims is that they are not genuine and "cash for crash" claims, imagine that you are on your way to work as usual one morning when another motorist pulls out from a side road and collides straight into the side of your vehicle. Throughout the day you experience neck pain and stiffness but the following morning and over the next days these symptoms become worse, possibly to a point where you are unable to go to work. You see your GP for physiotherapy however, this could take several months on the NHS. You may he someone who enjoys cycling, dancing or going to the gym and as a result of these injuries you are unable to participate in such activities. The whiplash symptoms could last several months and impact on your work and daily activities or hobbies through no fault of your own but imagine if you have no right to any compensation or the amount you can recover is capped at a small amount, which could be in the region of £400.00.
Imagine your child going on a school trip and the coach is involved in a collision with another vehicle on the motorway. Your child suffers soft tissue/whiplash type injuries but also develops anxiety when having to travel and has nightmares about the accident. However, there is no compensation for your child or this is capped at a small amount.
The government's proposals take away the innocent injured person's right to claim compensation or recover compensation which adequately reflects the nature and extent of their whiplash injuries.
The question needs to be raised What Next? After a ban or cap on whiplash injury claims will there then be a ban or cap for injuries arising at work? Could an employee working on a machine with no guards which breaches health and safety regulations who loses a limb be unable to claim compensation or only be entitled to a fixed level of compensation?
If you need advice call Ramsdens Personal Injury team free on 0800 8047450 or text CLAIMS to 80988...we're here to help.