Sometimes it can seem as though personal injury claims are never out of the news, and we are constantly hearing about UK statistics for personal injury claims rising, and the rise of ‘compensation culture’ in the UK, or that the UK is the ‘whiplash capital of Europe’. But is all this negative publicity over UK statistics for personal injury claims actually affecting those who deserve to be compensated for accidents caused by somebody else? If you have been injured in an accident that wasn’t your fault, then you are entitled to claim personal injury compensation for your pain, suffering and financial losses – forget about the whole compensation culture myth.
Why UK statistics for personal injury claims do more harm than good
There seems to be a great deal of controversy in the media surrounding UK statistics for personal injury claims; whiplash injuries in particular. Whilst it’s true to say that the number of whiplash claims has risen by 50% in the past decade, there is more to this statistic than at first meets the eye. But news stories like these often give rise to myths concerning personal injury claims, and we’ve decided to shed some light on popular whiplash myths and misconceptions.
- Whiplash is a minor injury
It is true that whiplash can be a minor injury, yes, but it can present a range of symptoms which can vary in severity. One person may suffer from whiplash symptoms which last for a few months, making a complete recovery thereafter. Whilst another person could suffer debilitating pain that will stay with them for the rest of their life.
- Whiplash injuries are faked after an accident
When we look at UK statistics for personal injury claims, especially for whiplash claims, it’s easy to assume that the high number of claims means that many people are faking their injuries. An issue with whiplash is that symptoms can sometimes take hours or even days to appear. This means that an apparently uninjured person can walk away from a road traffic accident and then make a claim for whiplash compensation a few days later. It doesn’t necessarily mean that they are faking their injuries – although of course there are those who make fraudulent personal injury claims.
- Whiplash can only be caused by high speed collision
Anybody who tells you this is sadly misinformed. In fact, you are more likely to suffer from whiplash after a low speed collision or shunt. In a high speed crash, your vehicle absorbs the shock of the crash, and you’re more likely to be bracing yourself ready for a collision. Crashes at low speed cause your vehicle to shunt, meaning that it doesn’t absorb the impact – instead, your body does. Your chest may be held back by the seat belt, but it’s your neck that takes the full force of the collision’s impact, snapping forwards and then backwards and causing a whiplash injury.
- The majority of whiplash claims must be fake – that’s why the number of claims has risen
Anybody who takes a look at UK statistics for personal injury claims and draws this conclusion is also misinformed. It’s unfair to say this, as the rise in claims occurs mostly in major cities such as London, Manchester and Birmingham. When you think about it, these are the busiest cities, and therefore have the most congestion. With the number of cars in these cities rising, and congestion increasing, it makes more sense that whiplash claims are also on the rise, as there are more cars than ever before travelling at slower speeds, making conditions ripe for a whiplash injury to occur.
What does this damaging information do?
Reading about compensation culture and fraudulent claims may be enough to put some people off finding out more about making a personal injury claim. For example, if you have suffered an injury after slipping on a wet floor in a shop, you may be less likely to make a claim for compensation if you read an article with UK statistics for personal injury claims that suggests those who claim compensation are making fraudulent claims. Yet slips, trips and falls account for a large percentage of accidents at work – in fact, slips are the single most common cause of injury at workplaces in the UK. Perhaps you have suffered from whiplash and you’re now concerned about the government’s proposed crackdown on fraudulent claims?
What to do if you’re injured in an accident that isn’t your fault
At the end of the day, regardless of statistics or media reports, you’re entitled to make a claim for personal injury compensation if you have sustained injuries as a result of somebody else’s negligence. You could even make a personal injury claim on behalf of a family member who has been injured, for example your child or partner. Accident Advice Helpline has helped hundreds of people to claim compensation for a wide range of illnesses and injuries, from food poisoning to industrial deafness and life-changing spinal injuries. You can even claim compensation for minor injuries, provided you sought medical attention for them after your accident. The first step after any accident should be to get in touch with us, and you can do this by calling our helpline on 0800 689 0500 or 0333 500 0993 from a mobile.
If you’d prefer, you can take the 30-second test on our website first, which will give you an idea of how much compensation you could be entitled to claim. Then give us a call and we’ll be able to tell you (a) who is at fault for your accident and (b) whether or not you are eligible to make a claim for compensation. If you are eligible there’s no need to worry as there is no obligation to proceed at any point. But should you decide to go ahead with a claim, our lawyers work on a 100% no-win, no-fee* basis, so you don’t need to worry about upfront legal fees.
Date Published: 17th June 2013
Author: Emma Matthews