This guide will look at the question ‘How long after an accident can you claim for whiplash?’. When making a personal injury claim, there are criteria that need to be adhered to, including starting legal proceedings within the limitation period. Throughout this guide, we discuss the criteria you must meet as well as the time limits you need to adhere to as a way to help you understand when you could be eligible to seek compensation for whiplash injuries.
Furthermore, we discuss the implementation of the Whiplash Reform Programme and how it has impacted the way certain road traffic accident claims are made, as well as how whiplash injuries are valued.
Later in this guide, we discuss the evidence you could gather to support your case and how one of our No Win No Fee solicitors could assist you.
Speak to our advisors today if you have any other questions regarding your potential road traffic accident claim. You can reach them any time by:
Select A Section
- How Long After An Accident Can You Claim For Whiplash?
- Criteria To Claim For A Whiplash Injury
- How To Prove You Have Whiplash After An Accident
- Examples Of Payouts For Whiplash Injuries
- Get Help With Your Whiplash Injury Claim
- Further Information On Road Traffic Accident Claim Time Limits
Generally, you have three years from the accident date to start your personal injury claim for a whiplash injury. The Limitation Act 1980 sets out this time limit. However, there are certain exceptions that could apply. For example:
- If the injured person is unable to claim for themselves due to a reduced mental capacity, the limitation period is paused indefinitely. During this pause, a litigation friend, appointed by the courts, can step in to pursue the claim on behalf of the injured person. However, if this does not happen and the injured person recovers, the three-year time limit starts from their recovery date.
- Those under 18 cannot claim themselves, the time limit is paused and an appointed litigation friend can act on their behalf as well. Alternatively, if the injured person turns 18 without someone submitting a claim for them, they then have until their 21st birthday to get started.
Please call our advisors for more information on the time limits for a personal injury claim following a car accident.
As well as starting legal proceedings on time, your claim must meet eligibility criteria establishing that your personal injury claim has grounds to proceed.
The Road Traffic Act 1988 and the Highway Code contain rules that must be followed. Doing so ensures road users uphold their duty of care which requires them to navigate the roads in a way that prevents harm to themselves or others.
If another road user failed to uphold their duty of care and you sustained a whiplash injury due to the breach, you may wonder whether you could be eligible to make a personal injury claim. However, in order to do so, you must prove:
- A road user owed you a duty of care.
- They breached this duty.
- This led to an accident that caused you physical and/or mental harm.
For whiplash claims, the way you may need to seek compensation has changed due to the whiplash reforms.
The Whiplash Reform Programme
The introduction of the Whiplash Reform Programme brought in changes to the way certain road traffic accident claims are made. The reforms mean:
- If you are an adult driver or passenger of a vehicle with injuries valued at £5,000 or less, your claim will need to be made via an alternative route.
- Any whiplash injuries will be valued in accordance with the fixed tariff set out in The Whiplash Injury Regulations 2021. However, any injuries not included in this tariff will be valued in the traditional way, even if your claim is made via the alternative route.
- If you have injuries that take the total value of your claim over £5,000, you will claim via the traditional route. However, whiplash-related injuries will still have a value assigned to them via the fixed tariff.
For further guidance on the whiplash reforms and how they might influence your claim, please contact an advisor on the number above. They can also provide further guidance on the question ‘How long after an accident can you claim for whiplash?’.
You could gather evidence to support your road traffic accident claim. This can show you suffered a whiplash injury as a result of another road user breaching their duty of care.
Examples of evidence you could gather includes:
- Photographs of the accident scene and any visible injuries.
- Footage, either from a dashcam or roadside CCTV.
- Medical records showing your injuries and their severity.
- A diary charting your symptoms, treatment and recovery time.
- Witness contact details.
Get in touch if you have any questions about gathering evidence. If they find you have a valid case, they could put you in touch with one of our solicitors who has experience of the car accident claims process and could assist you in seeking compensation for your whiplash injury.
Settlements for successful personal injury claims can be split into up to two heads of claim. One is special damages, which compensates for financial losses due to injuries such as:
- A loss of earnings if you are unable to work while injured.
- Medical costs, such as prescription fees and mobility aid costs.
- Travel expenses, if injuries make alternative transport necessary.
You must provide evidence of these losses, such as payslips, receipts or statements. It is also worth noting that special damages can only be claimed if a settlement also features general damages.
General damages is the other head of claim that compensates for the physical pain and psychological suffering caused by an accident in which you suffered an injury. This can include physical injuries, mental injuries, or both together.
Legal professionals may turn to medical evidence and the Judicial College Guidelines (JCG) to assign value to injuries as part of the claims process. The JCG provides a list of guideline compensation brackets which correspond to different types of injuries.
We have used figures from the JCG to collate the table you can see below. Please only use the JCG figures as a guide.
However, the whiplash entries in this table are from The Whiplash Injury Regulations 2021 and are fixed amounts.
|One or more minor psychological injuries, alongside one or more whiplash injuries
|Symptoms lasting for 18-24 months.
|One or multiple whiplash injuries
|Symptoms lasting for 15-18 months.
|£91,090 to £160,980
|The most severe injuries, featuring spinal cord and nerve root damage, with a combination of very serious consequences, including severe pain and disability.
|£74,160 to £88,430
|Cases whose features remove them from lower brackets. Features may include nerve root damage alongside, for example, a loss of sensation or impaired mobility.
|£27,760 to £38,780
|Several injuries fit in this bracket, such as a compression or crush fracture affecting the lumbar vertebrae.
|In the region of £148,330
|Injuries to the neck, associated with, for example, incomplete paraplegia.
|£65,740 to £130,930
|Considerably severe disability caused by, for example, serious fractures in the cervical spine.
|£24,990 to £38,490
|Fractures or dislocations that feature significant immediate symptoms and possibly require a spinal fusion.
|£19,200 to £48,030
|Significant disability due to brachial plexus damage, often linked to neck injuries.
|£12,770 to £19,200
|Shoulder dislocation alongside lower brachial plexus damage resulting in shoulder and neck pain.
Call our team for further guidance on calculating compensation for whiplash injuries.
If you have a valid claim, you could seek legal representation from one of our solicitors. They can help with several aspects of the whiplash claims process, such as ensuring that your case is submitted within the time limit and all correspondence is sent on your behalf.
Services such as these could be offered under the terms of a No Win No Fee contract known as a Conditional Fee Agreement. This arrangement means you do not generally pay for your solicitor’s work:
- During the claim.
- If it fails.
The solicitor takes a success fee if the claim wins. This means a percentage of your compensation is collected. However, not only will this be discussed with you before the claim starts, but the percentage a solicitor can take is legally capped by The Conditional Fee Agreements Order 2013.
Speak To An Expert
For further guidance on the question, ‘How long after an accident can you claim for whiplash?’ please contact an advisor. They can give more information on the time limits and other criteria that need to be met in order to make a personal injury claim. Also, they can assess your case and determine whether you could be eligible to instruct one of our solicitors and access their services.
For more information, you can:
Here are more guides about road traffic accident claims:
- A guide explaining if you can claim for a whiplash injury with a pre-existing condition and how to do so.
- Find out whether there is an average payout for a whiplash claim and how compensation is calculated for this type of injury.
- A guide for those seeking compensation for anxiety after a car accident or other psychological injuries.
You can find some useful information from these external sources also:
- Information on road safety laws from Think!
- Learn how to get your medical records with this helpful NHS guide.
- Find out whether you could be eligible for statutory sick pay with this guide from GOV.UK.
We hope this guide has answered your question, ‘How long after an accident can you claim for whiplash?’. However, if you need any other information, please contact an advisor via the contact details provided above.