How much is a whiplash claim worth?
Although the number of Whiplash claims is falling year on year, soft tissue neck injury is still the most common injury sustained in a Road Traffic Accident. As a result, we’re often asked how much compensation may be expected for this type of injury. With whiplash claims, compensation is designed to get you back in the position you were in prior to the accident. The amount of whiplash compensation you receive in Northern Ireland is therefore based on a number of factors.
In order to have an idea of how much compensation our clients are entitled to, we refer to the Guidelines for the Assessment of General Damages in Personal Injury Cases in Northern Ireland from The Judicial Studies Board for Northern Ireland. This document, commonly known as “The Green Book” provides the following definitions and amount brackets of compensation.
Minor Whiplash Injury
- Up to £12,000
Minor whiplash injuries when symptoms are moderate and full recovery takes place within a maximum of two years.
Moderate Whiplash Injury
- £10,000 – £25,000
Moderate whiplash injuries when the period of recovery is “fairly protracted and where there is an increased vulnerability to further trauma”.
Severe Whiplash Injury
- £24,000 – £50,000
Severe whiplash when there is serious limitation of movement, permanent or recurring pain, stiffness or discomfort, the potential need for further surgery or increased vulnerability to trauma.
The Green Book only provides guidance on the value for the injury though. In many cases, the damages may actually be greater. Damages is another name for compensation and they are divided into General and Special categories.
General damages are designed to compensate the injured party for any pain and suffering they have experienced. We gather details and statements to get an accurate picture of how the whiplash injury and the corresponding pain has impacted our client’s life and then refer to the Green Book. We will also engage an independent medical expert, usually a GP or an Orthopaedic surgeon, to examine the injuries, including any restrictions of movement and long term damage. They will then be able to offer a prognosis, suggesting how long whiplash recovery will take. This helps us get a picture of the amount of pain that has or will be experienced and how much the general damages should be.
Special damages are based on expenses incurred by clients because of whiplash. Because it refers to money that has been lost out on or money spent, it is easier to determine than the general damages. Sufferers of whiplash should keep any receipts, wage slips and other relevant documents so that a comprehensive record of expenses and financial losses is available. Special damages can include loss of earnings, treatment costs, medication, car repairs and more.
If you would like to learn more about what the Green Book says about compensation you can read it here.