When it comes to personal injury claiming, we are the experts! As an actual law firm dealing with claims (not some claims management company passing you over to the highest bidding lawyer!) our expertise in whiplash claims spans over decades. Whiplash is the most common injury involved in a road accident, and when it comes to road accidents, they’re usually fairly straightforward when it comes to proving who is at fault. Most people can normally work out right at the start that they definitely have a claim, but they’re not sure how much they can claim for.
Given that, our busy new claims team are often asked the question “how much is my whiplash claim worth?” Now, it’s important to understand that this isn’t something anyone can just easily answer. Each claim is different and is assessed on its own merits – so we can’t just say to you “oh that’ll be worth £3,000 mate!” Then comes the next question: “well just give me a ball park figure or an average; I won’t hold you to it!” The last bit usually makes me chuckle a little.
So what are the averages?
Since they’re such common injuries, I can tell you a little about the averages and estimates, but it’s important to know that these are just that; averages and estimates. How much your own claim is worth is dependent on a number of factors of which I’ll go on to later in this article.
- The average minor whiplash injury is worth around £2,500; according to statistics.
- The bracket according to the official guidelines we use to value minor whiplash claims is roughly between £1,000 to £5,000
- Normally if you’re suffering for a minimum of four weeks, the claim should be worth a minimum of £1,000
- If the injury is a moderate whiplash injury, the bracket is between £5,000 – £15,000. If it’s severe, it obviously can go beyond the above!
The brackets are helpful for lawyers once we have proper medical evidence for your claim. Which bracket your whiplash injury fits in to is entirely dependent on the length and severity of your suffering. It’s very important to understand that the definition from your GP or a medical professional at hospital of “moderate” or “severe” whiplash is pretty much way out when it comes to the above guidelines. The definitions of minor, moderate, and severe mentioned above relate solely to the guidelines used for a claim. If you are told by your GP that you have severe whiplash, you cannot use the above to gauge that you will be entitled to more than £15,000. The vast majority of people suffer with a minor whiplash injury, which in itself can last more than a year.
So how much is YOUR claim worth?
The value of your claim is entirely dependent on a number of common factors such as:
- How long you will suffer for.
- The severity of your suffering.
- The impact the suffering has on your individual lifestyle.
- Any losses and expenses you incur as part of the claim and the injury.
The claim falls in to two parts: General Damages and Special Damages. General Damages is for the pain, suffering, and loss of amenity that the injury causes you. Special Damages covers any losses and out of pocket expenses. Classic examples are lost earnings or medical expenses. If you have to have four weeks off work due to the injury, and you’re only paid sick pay, we will need to include the difference between your full pay and sick pay and recover it back for you. Additional things like this again show that it is not so easy just to give you a “ballpark figure” – we need to know all about the injuries from the report and calculate all of your losses and expenses.
How to Maximise My Whiplash Claim
There’s one guaranteed way to make sure that the payout you receive is the absolute maximum amount you are entitled to receive. Instruct an expert whiplash lawyer with years of experience in whiplash compensation claims and a sterling reputation to boot. A quality law firm will dedicate themselves and tailor their service to fighting tooth and nail for the highest award.
Some law firms can be lazy – mainly if they are through your insurers or a claims company. Lawyers through your insurance and claims companies pay the insurers / claims company a referral fee for your claim. This can be anywhere up to £1,000 which works out around two thirds of a solicitors’ budget for a straightforward whiplash claim. With as little as 30% of their budget to spend on your claim, they simply cannot afford to provide you with a quality service or fight for the highest award.
When Should I Settle My Claim?
Your lawyer should advise you when it is right to settle, but the main thing to remember is that you should never settle the claim until you are fully healed from your injuries. If your solicitor is pushing you to settle and you haven’t fully healed, I’d question their motives and their integrity. With medical evidence compiled, the experts in their report will confirm a prognosis period which should state how long you will be suffering for. Proper advice is to wait until the end of the prognosis period to make sure it’s correct, and if you suffer beyond that period, we get more evidence. You can settle before if you want; but we would always advise against this.
Make sure you do NOT settle directly with the third party insurers. This is known as Third Party Capture and it undoubtedly leads to thousands of people under settling their claims. They offer you money right at the start of the claim to settle. They’ll tell you they will pay you a little more for not getting a lawyer involved. But ultimately, once you’ve settled directly, you can’t reopen the claim later on when you are still suffering and realise you have been yet another victim of the insurers attempts to save themselves money.
The best thing you can do is give us a call on our free claims helpline on 0800 634 75 75 for quality advice today about your whiplash compensation claim.