With the recent data revealing the steady increase in whiplash claims despite the drop in road accident injuries, many consumers may be rejoicing.
A report released by the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries shows that the increase of claims has cost the insurance industry nearly £400m. However, companies have yet to mitigate the blow by relaying the cost to UK motorists. In fact, the data indicates that the average cost of an insurance policy has decreased.
This is partially because now, more than ever, it’s easier for UK drivers to file a whiplash claim. Whiplash, a soft-tissue injury to the neck, can occur whether the accident is severe or minor. A person experiences whiplash when there is an abrupt jerk of the head forwards, backwards or sideways.
The sudden extension and flexion of the head, known as a neck sprain, can cause damage to the ligaments in the neck, cervical muscles, nerve endings, intervertebral joints and discs. Although a person may experience whiplash, the symptoms may not be prevalent until 24 hours or more after the initial trauma. The symptoms can range in severity and may include neck pain and stiffness, headaches, dizziness, muscle spasms, pain in the shoulders and lower back, numbness in the arm and hands, blurred vision, difficulty concentrating and irritability.
Whiplash most often occurs during road traffic accidents when a car from behind collides, causing the head to jerk backward and then whip forward. Anyone can experience whiplash, even in a minor accident in which the speed was low or there is no damage to the car.
The length of recovery and the treatment required depends on the severity of the injuries. In minor cases, a person may recover within a couple of weeks. However, it may take several months or even years for someone to recover from a severe neck sprain and other injuries associated with whiplash.
Oftentimes, it is advised that motorists seek legal aid to help rectify the problems they have incurred from their whiplash. Not only does it cause physical harm and pain, but a victim’s injury may be so severe that there is an absence from work and a decreased quality of life.
A lawyer that specializes in road traffic accidents can help victims file a claim and receive compensation. The report indicated that on average, claimants in small third-party injury claims are awarded roughly £8,400 in whiplash compensation. This is on the lower end of the scale, as some claims can be as much as £100,000.
The payment can help cover any medical bills, lost income and other injury-related expenses. Yet, with so many insurance companies paying for claims, some experts question how likely it is that motorists’ insurance prices will continue to be unaffected. For now, it’s all a waiting game.