Can I Claim For A Whiplash Injury With A Pre-Existing Condition?

By Jo Jeffries. Last Updated 27th January 2023. Welcome to this guide, which explains what you may need to know about claiming for a whiplash injury with a pre-existing condition. In this guide, we explain how compensation payouts for a whiplash injury with a pre-existing condition could be calculated. We also discuss how the Whiplash Reforms have changed whiplash compensation claims and how you could claim for a whiplash injury. If you’ve had a whiplash injury with a pre existing condition, and it has made your injury worse, this could be useful to you. We answer questions such as ‘can you claim for whiplash if you had other injuries’ and ‘can I claim for whiplash after 3 years?’ Plus, the Whiplash reforms are explained, so you have further information about how to make your claim.

Further to this, we explain how a payout for whiplash is arrived at. Plus, we explain what affects a whiplash claim amount and how evidence can affect how much whiplash compensation you could receive.

Whiplash injury with pre existing condition – what do I need to know?

Man getting whiplash after getting rear ended which aggravated a pre-existing condition

First of all, what is whiplash? Whiplash is a soft tissue injury that can affect the neck, upper back, and shoulders.

Road traffic accidents can cause whiplash. However, whiplash can also happen because of other types of accidents. For example, accidents at work, sporting accidents, or assaults.

You could claim compensation for whiplash injuries if the injury was not your fault. This is true if you already had a pre-existing condition, but it was worsened by the accident.

If you experience a whiplash injury with a pre-existing condition, can you still claim compensation?

If negligence on the part of someone else exacerbated your injuries, you may still be able to claim.

To look into your compensation claim, contact Accident Claims UK today. If you are eligible to claim, we could provide you with a skilled personal injury lawyer to handle your case. Call us today on 0800 073 8801, or contact us online. Alternatively, continue reading this guide to learn more.

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A Guide To Claims For A Whiplash Injury With A Pre-Existing Condition

If you have suffered whiplash injuries because of an accident that was not your fault, can you claim compensation? To make a personal injury claim for whiplash injuries, you will need to prove that the following took place:

  • Firstly, that another party owed you a duty of care. For example, that they were driving on the road at the same time as you so had a duty to protect your safety by driving with awareness.
  • Secondly, that they breached this duty of care and caused an accident such as a rear-end car accident.
  • Finally, that the accident directly caused your injuries or worsened your pre-existing condition.

If you already had a pre-existing medical condition at the time of the accident, can you still claim compensation? If there is evidence to prove that the accident worsened your injuries, you could make a claim for a whiplash injury with a pre-existing condition.

How much compensation can you claim for being hit by a car?

Continue reading this guide to find out. Alternatively, we recommend that you call Accident Claims UK to speak to an advisor about how much whiplash compensation you could receive. If your whiplash injuries worsened your pre-existing condition, you may be entitled to compensation.

To begin your whiplash injury compensation claim, call our free helpline to speak to a personal injury claims advisor. A personal injury solicitor will start working on your claim if they can see that you are owed compensation.

What Are Claims For A Whiplash Injury With A Pre-Existing Condition?

Whiplash is a type of soft tissue injury. When something forces the head forward and backwards, this can cause whiplash. This sudden movement can make the neck stretch and neck ligaments and tendons can be damaged.

What Are The Symptoms Of Whiplash?

Whiplash symptoms include the following:

  • Neck stiffness, which makes it difficult to move your head.
  • Neck pain.
  • Headaches.
  • Muscle spasms and pain in the arms and shoulders.

There may also be tingling or numbness in the arms and feelings of fatigue and dizziness.

Whiplash often heals on its own within 2 to 3 months. Sometimes to make a full recovery, the patient will require a course of physiotherapy. We recommend that you always go to a doctor if you believe you have whiplash. Firstly to receive any medical treatment you may need, and,  secondly, so there will be evidence of your formal diagnosis on your medical records. This could support you to claim compensation for whiplash with a pre-existing condition.

What Are Causes Of Whiplash?

Car accidents can often cause whiplash, especially rear-end accidents. This is because the rear impact can push the head forward, injuring the neck. Violent assaults where the victim is shaken or punched can cause whiplash injuries. Furthermore, contact sports accidents, such as martial arts or rugby accidents can also lead to whiplash injuries.

How Could Whiplash Affect Existing Injuries?

What is the relationship between whiplash and pre-existing conditions? Whiplash can have an adverse effect on pre-existing medical conditions of the neck. Some symptoms of whiplash injuries can make pre-existing medical conditions more difficult to manage.

Whiplash injuries can also worsen mental health conditions. What’s more, a person’s mental health can be affected by the trauma of being involved in an accident.

Can you claim for a whiplash injury with a pre-existing condition?

If you can provide evidence of the following, you could be able to claim. Firstly, you will need to provide medical evidence to prove that a whiplash accident worsened your pre-existing condition. Secondly, you will also need to present evidence to prove that another party caused your injuries by acting negligently.

The Whiplash Reform Programme 2021

In May 2021, the UK government introduced the Whiplash Reform Programme. The idea is that claimants with minor whiplash injuries, valued at less than £5,000, can claim for their injuries via an online portal. The claims process is managed by the portal where the defendant and claimant will try to come to an agreement. You can only use the portal if you are an adult driver or passenger who has suffered whiplash injuries in a car. Bikes, motorbikes and pedestrians cannot claim in this way and nor can under-18s. The claims portal does not allow for the recovery of legal costs for whiplash claims which means, unfortunately, it would not be cost effective for us to get involved in low-value claims.

How do I know whether this would affect my whiplash compensation?

However, one pertinent question is how do you know the value of your claim? Well, unless you’re a medical specialist, you won’t. Certainly, if your symptoms are still continuing, it would be impossible to calculate what the value of your claim might be. While the portal does offer some guidance, and it includes claims for psychological damage, you may still need advice to confirm if your claim should go through the claims portal. Again, the claims portal is only suitable for claims involving whiplash injuries and nothing else. That said, if the claim total is less than £5,000 for whiplash injuries as well as any other injuries, you could still use the portal. Where this is the case, the portal will offer guidance on the value of the whiplash element and the two parties involved will need to try and agree on the value of the rest of the claim.

If you are not sure if you should claim through the portal or use our claims service, why not call today? We will review your claim, for free, and offer advice on how you should proceed.

Could I Make An Aggravated Injury Claim?

What is an aggravated injury? It is when an injury makes a pre-existing medical condition worse. You may be able to make an aggravated injury claim if a whiplash injury worsened your pre-existing condition. You could claim compensation for the aggravated injury, in addition to claiming compensation for financial loss or other physical or mental suffering caused or worsened by your whiplash injury.

If you’d like to discuss your individual case confidentially, call our advisors. They’re available on the number at the top of the page. They give free legal advice and you won’t be under any obligation to proceed with our services.

Can You Claim If The Whiplash Only Aggravated A Pre-Existing Injury?

What happens if the only effect of your whiplash was aggravating a pre-existing condition? You could make a whiplash claim for the aggravation of your pre-existing condition only.

Determining the effect whiplash has had on a pre-existing condition can be complex. If you choose to use the services of a solicitor, as well as reviewing your medical records, they should also arrange for you to have a medical assessment. The independent professional would assess your injuries and create a report. This report could be used to prove that your pre-existing injury was worsened by the accident.

Where Pre-Existing Injuries Are Made Worse, Who Is Liable?

In order to make a successful personal injury claim, you (with the help of your solicitor, if you use one) must prove the following:

  • Negligence on the part of the defendant caused the accident.
  • The accident caused or worsened your injuries.

If this is proven to be true, the defendant could be held liable for the claimant’s injuries. This means that the defendant could be legally responsible for their injuries and may have to pay the claimant compensation.

If the claimant has a pre-existing medical condition, does this change who is liable for their injuries?

If the defendant caused the accident by acting negligently, they could be liable for any injuries caused. The defendant could be liable for whiplash injuries and/or the worsening of the pre-existing condition.

However, if the claimant’s pre-existing condition isn’t worsened by the accident that wasn’t their fault, they may not be able to claim. This is one reason why evidence is crucial.

How Does The Eggshell Rule Apply To Pre-Existing Injury Claims?

The eggshell rule is also known as the thin skull rule. What does this mean? The eggshell rule applies to claimants who are more vulnerable to injury due to their condition. Therefore, if they have an accident, their injuries may be more severe than otherwise expected.

The eggshell rule essentially requires defendants to take the victim as they find them. That is to say, if they are liable, the defendant would be liable for any injuries they cause or worsen.

Therefore, your pre-existing condition cannot be used to minimise the value of your claim, if you claim compensation for whiplash with a pre-existing condition.

Should I Seek Medical Attention As Soon As Possible?

It is important to seek the correct medical treatment as soon as possible after an accident. Why is this important? First of all, you may need medical attention. Not all injuries are visible, so it is important to let a doctor diagnose your injuries and prescribe any medical treatment that you might need.

Second of all, your medical records should show evidence of your injuries if they have been diagnosed by a doctor. You could use this evidence to support your claim. It can be hard to make a successful whiplash claim without medical evidence. Because whiplash often heals on its own within 2 to 3 months, we recommend you seek medical treatment as soon as possible.

It is especially important to see a doctor if you are making a claim for a whiplash injury with a pre-existing condition. A doctor may be able to advise whether they believe the accident worsened your pre-existing condition.

Compensation Amounts For Whiplash Injuries

You might be wondering ‘what compensation can you claim for whiplash with a pre-existing condition?’. After making a successful claim, you could be awarded a whiplash settlement comprising general damages and special damages. 

General damages compensate for the pain and suffering your injuries have caused. Consideration can also be given to any pre-existing conditions and whether your injuries have accelerated or exacerbated these.

Solicitors can use the Judicial College Guidelines when valuing this head of claim. It contains guideline compensation brackets for different injuries which we have used in the following table. These are only to be used as a guide.


Injury Comments Guideline Compensation Bracket
Neck: Severe (i) Neck injuries which are associated with incomplete degrees of paraplegia or which result in an injury such as permanent spastic quadriparesis. In the region of £148,330
Neck: Severe (ii) Neck injuries which involve serious bone fractures and damage to the spinal discs. The injury may lead to the person suffering a disability. £65,740 to £130,930
Neck: Severe (iii) An injury which results in bone fractures as well as severe damage to the surrounding soft tissue. There could be tendon ruptures and resulting in chronic injuries. The person could be left with a permanent disability. £45,470 to £55,990
Neck: Moderate (i) A neck fracture or dislocations which could cause the claimant to experience immediate symptoms. £24,990 to £38,490
Neck: Moderate (ii) Where there has been a soft tissue injury or disc lesion which could result in limited neck movement. £13,740 to £24,990
Neck: Moderate (iii) Where a pre-existing injury to the neck or surrounding tissues has been made worse because of the new injury. £7,890 to £13,740
Neck: Minor (i) A minor soft tissue injury that has fully recovered within 1 to 2 years. £4,350 to £7,890
Brain and Head: Less Severe A good recovery has been made with person returning to normal daily life. However, there still may be problems with concentration and memory. £15,320 to £43,060
Brain and Head: Minor Severity of the initial injury, recovery period and any continuing symptoms will affect how much is awarded. £2,210 to £12,770
Shoulder: Severe Usually associated with neck injuries with the brachial plexus being injured which causes a serious disability. £19,200 to £48,030


Will The Whiplash Reforms Affect My Claim?

As per changes brought in by the Whiplash Reform Programme, adult passengers and drivers with whiplash injuries valued at £5,000 or less will need to make their claim through the government Official Injury Claim portal. Furthermore, their whiplash injuries will be valued in line with a tariff set out in the Whiplash Injury Regulations 2021. 

If they have additional injuries that take the total value of the claim over £5,000, they will not need to make their claim through the portal. However, the tariff will still be used to value any whiplash injuries. This is because the tariff applies to all occupants inside a vehicle. Any additional injuries not included in the tariff will be valued the traditional way.


Duration of Injury Amount – Regulation 2(1)(a) Amount – Regulation 2(1)(b)
No more than 3 months £240 £260
3-6 months £495 £520
6-9 months £840 £895
9-12 months £1,320 £1,390
12-15 months £2,040 £2,125
15-18 months £3,005 £3,100
18-24 months £4,215 £4,345


For more information on the compensation you could receive for a whiplash injury, get in touch using the number above. An advisor can also answer the question ‘can I claim for whiplash?’.

Special Damages In Cases Involving Pre-Existing Conditions

If your whiplash claim with a pre-existing condition is successful, what could you receive? Your compensation payout could include general damages and special damages. Let’s look at what these are in more detail below.

General Damages

General damages are compensation for the pain, suffering, and loss of amenity caused by one’s injuries. Claimants can receive compensation for physical injuries. And if they suffered trauma, the claimant can claim compensation for psychological injuries.

Special Damages

These are to repay the claimant for any money they had to spend because of their injuries. Special damages compensation payouts also cover the cost of any future expenses the claimant may incur.

Examples of special damages include the following:

In extreme cases when the claimant becomes disabled, they could claim funds to pay for any home adaptations or mobility equipment they may require.

Claim For Whiplash Injury – No Win No Fee Injury Claim

If you’re eligible to make a claim compensation for a whiplash injury, our experienced whiplash solicitors could help you. They could also offer to take on your claim with a No Win No Fee agreement. With this type of arrangement, you will generally not be required to pay anything upfront to your solicitor for them to begin working on your claim. You usually also don’t have to pay anything during the process of your claim.

If the solicitor succeeds in helping you claim, you will be expected to pay them a success fee. This is a legally capped percentage taken from your compensation. However, if the claim is unsuccessful, you will not have to pay them for their services.

If you would like to be connected with our solicitors, you can contact our advisors today. They can advise you on how to claim.

Start Your Claim For A Whiplash Injury With A Pre-existing Condition

To look into your whiplash injury claim with a pre-existing condition, get in contact with Accident Claims UK using the details below. Our advisors offer all of our prospective clients a free legal consultation where we will discuss their situation in-depth and offer free legal advice. If they can see that you are owed compensation, they’ll provide you with a No Win No Fee solicitor to handle your claim. Get in touch through any of the methods below:

  • Call us on 0800 073 8801
  • Contact us about your whiplash ordeal.
  • Use the chat widget at the bottom right-hand corner of the page to speak with a claims advisor now.

Essential References

We hope you have found this guide to claiming compensation for a whiplash injury helpful. If you have any further questions please feel free to call our claims helpline. Alternatively, read these online guides to learn more.

Whiplash Compensation Claims Calculator Experts

A Guide To Car Accident Claims

Cycling Accident Claims & Advice

External Guides

An NHS guide to whiplash: Read about the causes, symptoms, and treatment of whiplash.

An NHS guide to the causes, symptoms, and treatment of sprains and strains.

Statistics On The Causes Of Whiplash

Research published by the Ministry of Defence found the following:

  • 22% of patients suffering from whiplash don’t develop symptoms until 12 hours after the accident.
  • 65% of car crash victims report neck injuries.
  • 56% of car crash victims developed a neck injury if they were involved in a side impact or front impact.
  • Women are more at risk of suffering whiplash injuries than men. This could be because women’s necks tend to be less muscular and slimmer.

Pre-Existing Injury Claims FAQs

We will now answer some frequently asked questions about whiplash injuries. If you wish to make an accident claim for whiplash, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

What is considered a pre-existing injury?

A pre-existing injury is an injury that has happened prior to your accident. The injuries caused by the accident may be more severe, due to a pre-existing injury. Similarly, the accident may aggravate (worsen) the pre-existing injury.

Can you sue for a pre-existing injury?

You may be eligible to make an aggravated injury claim if an accident worsens a pre-existing injury. Can you claim compensation for injuries caused by an accident that was not your fault even if you had a pre-existing injury? If you can prove that your injuries were the direct cause of the accident or worsened by it, you could be able to claim compensation.

What could impact compensation payouts for a whiplash injury with a pre existing condition?

There are various factors that could impact compensation payouts for a whiplash injury with a pre existing condition. As well as the Whiplash Reforms, which we explained earlier on in this guide, the following factors could be considered:

  • How bad the initial injury was
  • The impact of the injury on your life (whether you are able to work, or enjoy activities you usually do)
  • Financial implications of your injury (loss of earnings, medical and care costs, for example)

If you would like to get an idea of how much compensation your claim could bring you, please call our team. We could assess your case and give you a rough idea of the whiplash compensation you could receive. 

Where can I find tariff amounts for the Whiplash Reforms payouts?

The table in the compensation section of this guide includes whiplash compensation tariff amounts in accordance with the reforms for whiplash claims. We have also included 2022 figures in the table from the Judicial College Guidelines for injuries that fall outside of the remit of the whiplash reforms. 

Would a claim for a whiplash injury with a pre-existing condition always go through the Whiplash reforms portal?

If you have a whiplash injury with a pre-existing condition, you might wonder whether it could be possible to make a claim outside of the government portal.

However, the reforms may still apply. For example, if you’re over the age of 18 as a passenger or driver of a vehicle with injuries valued at £5,000 or less, you would still need to go through the government portal. If your injuries were valued higher than this, you could make your claim the traditional way. 

For more information, call our team. They can provide a free valuation of your claim and help you understand the avenue you may take to claim.

Whiplash reforms explained – Can I claim for all road traffic accidents through the portal?

Not all claims will be subject to the Whiplash Reform Programme or made through the government portal. The reforms only apply to drivers and passengers of vehicles who are over the age of 18 with injuries valued at £5,000 or less. If you were injured as a cyclist, motorcyclist or pedestrian, you may be able to make your claim through the traditional route. 

Call our team for more information on whether you can claim for whiplash and other injuries that are more serious through the portal.

Can you claim for whiplash if it was your fault?

If you suffer a whiplash injury with a pre existing condition, but the accident was your fault, you would not usually be able to claim. However, some accidents may not be clear-cut at the time they occur. Sometimes, there could be fault on both sides. We would advise you to seek legal advice if you’re unsure as to whether you are fully to blame for an accident. 

Can I claim for a whiplash injury with a pre existing condition that isn’t made worse?

If you suffer a whiplash injury with a pre existing condition, but it is not affected by your whiplash injury, you should still be able to claim whiplash compensation. Having a pre existing condition should not preclude you from claiming for other injuries that are unrelated.

Thank you for reading our guide on claiming for a whiplash injury with a pre-existing condition.

Guide by HC

Edited by RV