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How to claim for whiplash after a car accident

Whiplash is a common and painful result of getting into a car crash. It’s caused when the head and neck are wretched forward and suddenly must come to a stop. It can result in a range of health issues that could last years and is often undiagnosed or untreated. If you do seek treatment, physical therapy is expensive and can deter those without insurance to go on dealing with the neck injury.

No one should have to live in pain nor navigate through legal claims alone. Turn to Gerard Malouf & Partners for guidance as we dive into how to diagnose whiplash, file a claim and earn compensation for your injury.

Diagnosing whiplash

Sometimes whiplash will heal on its own but some injured victims suffer through longer-term complications. Typically a passenger in a car will experience whiplash if they’ve been rear-ended. The force of the impact can tear and stretch the neck muscles and tendons causing a range of symptoms. Some of these symptoms include:

  • Concussion.
  • Muscle knots or hardness.
  • Pain, tenderness or tightness in the neck.
  • Headaches radiate from the base of the neck to the top.
  • Decreased range of motion.
  • Ringing in the ears.
  • Blurred vision.
  • Sleep disturbances.
  • Memory issues.
  • Numbness or tingling through the arms.
  • Irritability.
  • Depression.

After leaving the scene of a crash it’s important to visit a medical professional right away, even if you don’t feel any physical symptoms yet. They will be able to perform a thorough examination and perhaps spot signs of whiplash before you feel any pain. The benefits of visiting a doctor as soon as possible are twofold: you get a head start on any recommended treatment, and filing an official injury claim for whiplash compensation is easier with a medical history of treatment.

Qualifying for benefits

Anyone involved in a motor vehicle accident who has been diagnosed with whiplash symptoms and pain qualifies for compensation. You may also qualify if you are unable to work because of the injury.

Claiming for whiplash

A minor injury is categorised as one that does not result in permanent damage physically or psychologically, such as soft tissue injury. Whiplash pain could, however, last for much longer than expected and you can file a new claim for extended benefits if necessary. Navigating the process of a request for further benefits could be difficult to do on your own, but working with a personal injury law professional can help you earn the personal injury compensation you need.

Your whiplash claim should start the day of the road traffic accident: as soon as you call the police to file a report and speak with your insurer about the incident. This paper trail of established treatment will help you prove injury when you file a whiplash injury claim.

Calling the police after an accident will help you generate documentation of the collision and support your CTP insurer in creating a file for your case.

It’s also important to gather photo evidence of the accident, as it can help you to better tell the story of the event. Also, take note of the weather or road conditions since this could have influenced how the accident occurred, and even provide insight into the severity of the injury. Ask for the contact information of any witnesses in the area as well to benefit your case. A third, fourth or fifth set of eyes on the event from the perspective of someone not directly involved can help you, your lawyer and insurer determine who was at fault. The goal for gathering evidence is to prove that the other driver was negligent in their actions and help you avoid any responsibility for the car crash.

Your claims manager will also need to see proof that you are seeking further medical help through regular doctor’s office visits and receiving treatment. Compensation is meant to help fund or reimburse your medical bills and cover any loss of work due to the injury. This is why seeking medical attention after the accident and receiving treatment can help you determine what type of claim you need to make: short-term or long-term. Your whiplash injury may become chronic or develop into a worse condition which would likely qualify you for additional benefits.

Once you receive an evaluation from your doctor, and they diagnose your pain as whiplash, you will need to send in all of your medical information and receipts to the insurer. From there, you will receive compensation once the claim is accepted.

Finally, keep track of any lost wages, benefits or entitlements you would have earned during your recovery as this can also be covered by compensation.

The more you know about the claims process, the better equipped you will be when you’re ready to file. Because many states request that you fill out forms and file within a certain time frame, working with a compensation lawyer will alleviate any confusion and allow you to tend to your injury without any added burden.

Whiplash injury compensation timelines

The time limitations of filing a claim can have huge implications in gathering evidence and getting the law process started. Claiming compensation for a minor injury has different statutes of limitations depending on the state or providence you live in.

Here is a brief outline of how much time you have to file a claim before requiring additional work to receive benefits:

  • NSW: 3 months after the date of the accident.
  • Victoria: 1 year after you first notice the injury.
  • Queensland: 9 months after you first notice the injury, but 1 month after consulting a personal injury lawyer.
  • South Australia: 6 months after the accident.
  • Western Australia: 6 months after the accident.
  • Tasmania: 12 months after the accident.
  • ACT: To receive early benefits, you can file within 30 days of the accident. To receive additional benefits you have up to 9 months to claim through CTP and up to 1 month after speaking with a lawyer.
  • Northern Territory: 6 months after the accident.

If for any reason you miss this deadline, but still need compensation, speak with a lawyer about the steps involved. Your state may have exceptions or require additional documentation necessary to file and receive benefits. Medical bills can add up, so attempting to file a claim can help.

Compensation

As you gather information from medical professionals about treatment and diagnosis, they will likely tell you how long you can expect until you reach full recovery (if that is a possibility at all). Then, you will speak with their financing department, and with your insurer, for information on how much treatment will cost. While compensation is meant to cover the majority of your medical expenses, knowing an estimated timeline and cost can help you earn compensation more quickly.

Without knowing any details about a specific case (such as level of neck pain, the CTP insurance company working with you or other damages involved in your claim), in general, those who file a whiplash claim across Australia will earn around $20,000 total. The payout will vary depending on the state and details.

Your insurance company will determine how much compensation your claim will warrant.

Sometimes, however, the insurer will find a reason not to provide you with the full compensation amount for reasons such as incomplete forms, lack of evidence or the time in which you filed. In these cases and any other, Gerard Malouf & Partners is here to offer our professional legal advice. We are the leading law firm for whiplash compensation and offer a no-win, no-fee promise. You can set up a no-obligation consultation with us at any time to discuss your claim and make a plan for action. If you’re ready to take back what you’re owed after an accident, contact a Gerard Malouf & Partners representative today to get started.

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 — Personal Injury Compensation Lawyers

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