How Long After An Accident Can You Claim For Whiplash?

This article explores how long after an accident you can claim for whiplash. Time limits apply to starting personal injury claims. We investigate these and explore where exceptions to these limitation periods might apply. 

A sudden jolt to the head causes whiplash. This can occur after a car accident. You do not have to be the driver to claim for whiplash, you can also claim if you experienced whiplash as a passenger.

On 31st May 2021, the Whiplash Injury Regulations 2021 changed how some lower-value road traffic accidents are claimed. In this article, we explain what impact the Whiplash Injury Regulations 2021 could have on your claim and how a mental health injury such as anxiety could change how much your claim is worth. 

As road traffic accident claims cannot be reopened once they are settled, even if further injuries become apparent, you may wish to consult with specialist car accident claim solicitors before filing your claim. To bring this article on how long after an accident you can claim for whiplash to a conclusion, we look at the possibility of hiring a No Win No Fee solicitor for your road traffic accident claim. A solicitor can help ensure your claim is filed on time and in full. 

Our whiplash claims team are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to help begin a neck injury claim after a car accident caused by negligence. To speak to us:

  • Start your claim online
  • Use the live chat. 
  • Call the number at the top of the screen. 
How long after an accident can you claim for whiplash

How long after an accident can you claim for whiplash? A guide

Choose A Section

  1. How Long After An Accident Can You Claim For Whiplash?
  2. Calculating Compensation For Whiplash
  3. An Explanation Of Whiplash
  4. What Evidence Could Lead To You Winning A Whiplash Claim?
  5. When Should I Use A No Win No Fee Solicitor?
  6. More Information – How Long After An Accident Can You Claim For Whiplash?

How Long After An Accident Can You Claim For Whiplash?

Even if you were involved in a minor car accident, you might still be entitled to make a claim as long as your injuries are severe enough to warrant compensation and you are within the personal injury claims time limit. This time limit is set under the Limitation Act 1980

The claims time limit is usually three years from the date of the injury or the date that you connect your injuries with negligence to start your whiplash injury claim. In some circumstances, exceptions may apply.

These include: 

  • A litigation friend could be appointed to start a claim on your behalf if you were under the age of 18 when the accident happened, and the time limit for doing so is suspended. If a claim is not started on your behalf, you will have three years after the day of your 18th birthday to begin a claim. 
  • A litigation friend could be appointed to start a claim on your behalf if you lack the mental capacity at the time of the injury. If a litigation friend does not claim on your behalf, you will be given three years in the event that you regain your mental capacity to start your own whiplash claim. 

Symptoms of Whiplash

Whiplash is a type of neck injury. According to the NHS, symptoms could include:

  • Neck pain. 
  • Stiffness and difficulty moving the neck.
  • Headaches. 
  • Additionally, your arms and shoulders may also be painful and experience muscle spasms. 

These types of neck injuries could occur in a car accident where your head is suddenly jolted. Whiplash may not be the only injury you experience in a road traffic accident, however. You could also experience a head injury, broken leg or cuts and lacerations, amongst other injuries. 

Get in touch with our whiplash claims team to start your claim today. 

Calculating Compensation For Whiplash

Your whiplash settlement could be made up of two heads. General damages seeks to compensate you for the pain and suffering caused by your physical and psychological injuries resulting from the accident. To recover costs incurred as a result of whiplash, you could claim special damages.

These heads of claim also apply to claims made under the Whiplash Reform Programme instead. We investigate damages in whiplash claims and the Whiplash Reform Programme below. 

General Damages In Whiplash Claims

Your whiplash payout will be valued with the help of figures from the Judicial College Guidelines (JCG). It is a document used to help assign value to injuries. With so many variables impacting settlement amounts, we can’t provide you with an exact amount, however we can provide examples from the spring 2022 edition of the JCG. 

InjurySeverityPotential CompensationNotes
Neck InjurySevere (a) (i)In the region of £148,330Incomplete paraplegia or little to no neck movement with severe headaches from neck injury.
Neck InjurySevere (a) (ii)£65,740 to £130,930Considerably severe disability from serious fractures or cervical spine damage.
Neck InjurySevere (a) (iii)£45,470 to £55,990Significant permanent disability due to fractures, dislocations, ruptured tendons or severe soft tissue damage.
Neck InjuryModerate(b) (i)£24,990 to £38,490Severe symptoms from fractures or dislocations or chronic conditions resulting in impairments or future trauma vulnerability.
Neck InjuryModerate (b) (ii)£13,740 to £24,990Movement limitations, permanent or recurring pain or stiffness and discomfort from soft-tissue or wrenching injury and severe disc lesion.
Neck InjuryModerate (b) (iii)£7,890 to £13,740Moderate soft tissue injury with protracted recovery and increased future trauma vulnerability or exacerbation of pre-existing condition.
Back InjurySevere (a) (iii)£38,780 to £69,730Chronic conditions from disc lesions, fractures or soft tissue damage.
Shoulder InjurySevere (a)£19,200 to £48,030Significant disability from brachial plexus damage.
Brain InjuryLess Severe (d)£15,320 to £43,060A good recovery but some issues that interfere with life may remain, such as trouble concentrating.
Post Traumatic Stress DisorderModerate (c)£8,180 to £23,150Some symptoms that are not disabling may remain, but overall, a recovery has largely occurred.

Special Damages In Whiplash Claims

As a result of your injuries, you may find that you have certain expenses that you wouldn’t have otherwise. Under special damages, you could recover these if you can supply proof of your costs, such as receipts. 

You could recover:

  • Loss of earnings/future earnings. 
  • Medical expenses. 
  • Repair and replacement costs for property damaged in the accident. 

Whiplash Reform Programme

As of 31st May 2021, if you were injured in a road traffic accident as either a vehicle driver or passenger, you could claim through the Official Injury Claim portal if your whiplash injuries are valued at £5,000 or less. 

We have included some of these injury tariff amounts in the table below:

Length of injuryPotential Compensation
Longer than 18 months but less than 2 years£4,215-£4,345
Longer than 15 months, less than 18 months£3,005-£3,100
Longer than 1 year, less than 15 months£2,040-£2,125
Longer than 9 months, less than 1 year£1,320-£1,390
Longer than 6 months, less than 9 months£840-£895
Longer than 3 months, less than 6 months£495-£520
Not any longer than 3 months£240-£260

For help estimating your potential whiplash claim amount, contact our whiplash claims team. 

An Explanation Of Whiplash

The Road Traffic Act 1988 sets out the duty of care for vehicle drivers. Additionally, the Highway Code sets out the duty of care road users owe to each other. In order to make a road traffic accident claim, you must prove that another road user owed you a duty of care, they breached this, and this breach caused your whiplash injury. 

Examples of road traffic accident causes can include:

  • Failing to stop at a red traffic light and crashing into another vehicle. 
  • Pulling out at a junction without looking for other road users. 
  • Operating a vehicle while under the influence of drink or drugs 

Discuss the circumstances of your whiplash injury along with how long after an accident you can claim for whiplash with our advisors. 

What Evidence Could Lead To You Winning A Whiplash Claim?

In order to claim whiplash compensation, you must prove that your injuries were caused by another driver’s negligence. To prove your injuries and another road user’s negligence, you can:

  • Seek medical attention. 
  • Request CCTV footage or dashcam footage of the accident. 
  • Photograph the scene and/or your injuries or vehicle. 
  • Make a note of witness contact details. 
  • Speak to a road traffic accident solicitor. 

Talk to our whiplash claims team for free legal advice about what you could submit as evidence. 

When Should I Use A No Win No Fee Solicitor?

You may want to speak to a solicitor before starting your whiplash claim. A No Win No Fee road traffic accident solicitor could provide their services under a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA), which is a kind of No Win No Fee agreement

The advantages of using a No Win No Fee solicitor include not paying an upfront solicitors fee. Your solicitor will take a success fee that is legally capped from your award. If your claim is not successful, you won’t have to pay a success fee, nor will you pay anything for the services your lawyer provides. 

Ask Us “How Long After An Accident Can You Claim For Whiplash?”

Our whiplash claims team are standing by 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. If your whiplash claim seems valid and you wish to proceed, they could put you in touch with one of our specialist car accident No Win No Fee solicitors. 

Ask us, ‘how long after an accident can you claim for whiplash?’ today using the methods below:

  • Start your claim online
  • Call the number at the top of this page. 
  • Use the live chat feature. 

More Information – How Long After An Accident Can You Claim For Whiplash?

Additional resources you might find useful:

Further Guides from Personal Injury Claims UK

If you are still wondering how long after an accident you can claim for whiplash, speak with an advisor today.

Writer Danielle Ball 

Publisher Fern Stewart