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How Long Will My Whiplash Settlement Take?

15th December 2011
By Nicholas Jervis in Legal
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Copyright (c) 2011 Nicholas Jervis

Whiplash is one of the most common injuries arising from road traffic accidents. If you have sustained a whiplash injury you may be wondering whether to make a claim for whiplash injury compensation - or you may have already started the process - and you may be wondering how long your whiplash settlement will take to come through. This article looks at what exactly a whiplash is and how it presents itself, what needs to happen before your whiplash settlement comes through and how long the whiplash settlement claims process is likely to take.

A whiplash injury is usually, but not always, caused when one car collides with the rear of another car causing the head and neck of those people travelling in the car to be suddenly and forcefully thrown forwards and backwards causing the soft-tissue and ligaments in the neck to be stretched beyond their normal range of movements. This can cause a whiplash injury. It may not be immediately obvious that you have sustained a whiplash injury as often the symptoms of whiplash can take several hours, or even several days to appear. When the symptoms of whiplash do start to appear you are likely to experience pain and stiffness in your neck and shoulders, restricted movement in your neck, headaches, nausea, dizziness, lethargy and pins and needles. As soon as you become aware that you may be suffering from a whiplash injury you should seek medical attention from your GP or local A&E department.

There are certain stages that you need to go through in order to ensure that you receive the correct amount for your whiplash settlement claim. Do not be fooled into accepting an early whiplash settlement offer from the third party insurers as you are highly likely to under-settle your claim. When you instruct a solicitor to help you with your whiplash settlement claim that will instruct a medical expert to examine you and prepare a report detailing your injuries. The medical expert will provide a prognosis stating how long you are likely to take to recover from your injuries and whether any of your symptoms are likely to be permanent. Your solicitor will not be able to value your claim until he knows how long your recovery will be and he will advise you not to negotiate or accept a whiplash settlement until you have either fully recovered from your injuries or until you have been given a firm prognosis (i.e. that you are likely to be symptom free within 10 months of the accident). The reason for this is that if you settle your claim too early you will not be able to go back and claim further damages if your symptoms continue for longer than expected.

How long it takes for your whiplash settlement to come through will therefore largely depend on the prognosis you have received from the medical expert. If you are expected to recover from your injuries within 6 months to a year of the accident then you should receive your whiplash settlement within 6 months to a year of the accident. However, if you have sustained a whiplash injury which is serious and likely to have long lasting affects your whiplash settlement will take longer to come through as you will have to ensure that there is a strong prognosis in place before agreeing a settlement amount.

If you suspect you are suffering from a whiplash injury you should seek medical attention from either your GP or local A&E department and then legal advice from an expert whiplash solicitor.


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