The 7 Stages Of Whiplash Claims
Part 1 of 7 - From Accident To Solicitor
This series of articles deals with a whiplash claim from start to finish, from the impact of the accident to the settlement of the claim at trial. It is designed to provide you with a deeper understanding of all of the stages of a whiplash claim so that you can understand why some cases can take a long claim to settle.
Part 1. The Accident
A whiplash injury normally happens when you are stationary or moving slowly and another vehicle drives into the back of you. Your head is thrown forwards and backwards to, and sometimes beyond, it's usual range of motion. This is what causes your whiplash pain.
If you suffer an injury as a result of an accident you are obliged by law to notify the police of the accident. If the injury is not severe, they may decide not to attend, but you must still report it to them. If they do attend then they will prepare a police accident report which will be very helpful later on in the claim as it will confirm the positions of the cars and detail anywitnesses to the accident.
If the police do not attend, you need to ensure that you obtain details of any witnesses to the accident. These could be passers by, other drivers or passengers on buses. This is very important as even if it is clear to you that the other driver is responsible for the accident they will often later change their story to imply that it was your fault. The other witnesses can easily rebuke these claims but only if you obtained their contact details at the time of the accident, so spend a few minutes obtaining names and addresses; it could save you a lot of stress later on.
In addition to obtaining the names and addresses of any witnesses, you should also take photographs of the finishing position of the cars before you move them. Most people carry mobile phones now with the ability to take photographs, but if you don't and you are reading this before you are involved in an accident, it is worth putting a disposable camera in your glovebox, just in case you are involved in one later.
If you feel pain immediately it is important to have this checked out by your local Accident and Emergency Department or your General Practitioner. A visit is not only essential for your medical health, but it is also vital in linking the injury to the accident in question.
Normal treatment methods involve painkillers and ensuring you keep moving (neck collars are not usually used these days as movement is better than rest).
Once you have completed all of these stages it is important that you contact a solicitor as soon as you can. Whilst you have three years from the date of the accident to make a claim, as you will see from the remainder of this series of articles, your solicitor needs to obtain a lot of evidence to support your claim. Many solicitors will not take a claim on for you if you contact them a long time after the accident and especially if it is close to the three year limitation date, so early contact with a specialist whiplash claim solicitor is vital.
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