Not in Victoria?
Road accident involving two cars rear ended accident claim

Whiplash Claims

Published on Posted on

Please note that this post was written for Victorian audiences and the information within may not apply to other regions.

Whiplash occurs when a person’s head moves backward and then forward suddenly with great force. This injury is most common following a rear-end car collision. It can also result from physical abuse, sports injuries, or amusement park rides.

Whiplash results when the soft tissues (the muscles and ligaments) of your neck extend beyond their typical range of motion. Your symptoms might not appear for a while, so it’s important to pay attention to any physical changes for a few days following an accident.

Whiplash is thought of as a relatively mild condition, but it can cause long-term pain and discomfort.

How do whiplash injuries occur?

Whiplash occurs when the muscles in your neck suffer a strain because of a rapid movement backward and then forward. The sudden motion causes your neck’s tendons and ligaments to stretch and tear, resulting in whiplash.

Some things that can cause whiplash include:

  • car accidents
  • falls in which the head violently jerks backward
  • blows to the head with a heavy object

What does whiplash feel like?

Symptoms usually appear within 24 hours after the incident that caused the whiplash. Sometimes, symptoms may develop after a few days. They can last for several weeks or sometimes many months.

Common symptoms include:

  • neck pain and stiffness
  • headaches, specifically at the base of the skull
  • dizziness
  • blurred vision
  • constant weariness

Less common symptoms associated with chronic whiplash include:

  • problems with concentration and memory
  • ringing in the ears
  • inability to sleep well
  • irritability
  • chronic pain in the neck, shoulders, or head

You should follow up with your doctor immediately if:

  • your symptoms spread to your shoulders or arms
  • moving your head is painful
  • you have numbness or weakness in your arms

So how common is a whiplash injury?

Here are some interesting whiplash facts

  • More than 1 million people suffer from a whiplash injury each year;
  • In Australia the incidence of whiplash disorders is about 300 per 100,000 people;
  • Around 20% of people involved in rear-end motor vehicle accidents develop some whiplash symptoms;
  • Between 10-40% of people suffering from whiplash injury experience symptoms persisting for months or years.

When symptoms persist for many months or even years often losses will flow from these injuries such as loss of wages, the cost of medical treatment and rehabilitation and pharmaceutical expenses. This is when consideration should be given to commencing a claim for damages so that you can be compensated for these losses.

In Queensland, if you sustained your whiplash injury in a motor vehicle accident, and you did not cause the accident, you can bring a claim for damages against the person at fault’s CTP insurer.

If you have been involved in an accident whether because of a car accident or as a result of the fault of someone else and have sustained a whiplash injury you should seek medical treatment and legal advice as you may be entitled to compensation.