Car accident claims must all follow a set process, laid down in the Civil Procedure Rules, and which apply whether you are representing yourself or have engaged a [...]
Types of Injuries You Can Sustain in a Car Accident
Potential legal claims exist for almost every imaginable kind of car accident injury. From the relatively minor, such as mild whiplash, to the catastrophic, the legal system is open to awarding compensation to those who have suffered injury through no fault of their own. This can include both the driver and passengers of a vehicle, and is not limited only to physical injury. In certain circumstances, even witnesses of an accident may claim for psychological damage.
In order to claim for personal injury, whether physical or psychological, you must have your symptoms diagnosed by a medical professional. If you are claiming through your insurance company or a firm of solicitors, they are likely to refer you to a personal injury specialist. If you are claiming yourself, you will need to report your symptoms to your GP as soon as possible, and ask to be referred to an expert. If you cannot document your injury, including the dates that it began and continued until, you will find it very difficult to claim for damages.
Physically, the types of car accident injury are almost limitless. Perhaps the most common is whiplash, which usually occurs when a car crash has occurred from behind or to one side of the victim. It takes the form of a sprain or another kind of soft tissue injury to the ligaments in the back and neck, and manifests through continued discomfort in those areas. Such an injury should not be treated lightly. While whiplash can occur even at very low speeds, it can significantly impair day to day functioning. Unless treated, it can remain an issue for a significant period of time. This video by a Chiropractic physician shows how the body gets damaged in a whiplash injury.
Unfortunately, car accidents at higher speeds can cause much more serious injury than whiplash. The legal process allows for claims up to and including death, and those who have suffered catastrophic personal injuries which leave them unable to care for themselves can often be awarded significant sums of money. If you or a relative have suffered very serious injuries, it is recommended that you do not try to claim for yourself, but engage professional representation. Such cases can run over a number of days, and become very complex.
You may, of course, have escaped physical injury, but suffered psychological shock. If you are a so-called ‘primary victim’, within the area of potential physical injury (in other words, a direct participant), you can claim for any medically recognised psychological condition you have developed as a result. As with physical injuries, you must be able to document this through the evidence of an expert. If you are a witness to a horrific accident, but not within the zone of physical danger yourself, it is unlikely that you will be able to claim as a ‘secondary victim’. However, if you possess a ‘close tie of love and affection’ to those injured within the accident, such a claim may be open to you, and you should seek expert legal advice.
Whiplash Injury Information – National Health Service (NHS)
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