Motor Vehicle

Break-Neck Speed – Understanding Whiplash, Queensland’s Most Common Personal Injury Claim

Whiplash is by far the most common injury that people sustain in car crashes in Queensland, making up approximately 70% of personal injury CTP claims each year. 1 Because whiplash injuries occur so commonly in car crashes, it’s important to know what whiplash is, how it is treated, and what to do if you’re making a claim.

What is whiplash and when does it happen

Whiplash describes the acceleration-deceleration forces placed on the neck which may occur in rear-end car accidents, side-impact car accidents, or head on collisions. These forces may result in painful injuries to the muscles, ligaments and joints of the neck (cervical spine), or anywhere along the mid (thoracic) spine, or lower (lumbar) spine. As the joints, ligaments and neck are covered by muscles, the injury is usually invisible.

Because of the small and sensitive nature of muscles, joints and ligaments in the neck, whiplash injuries can occur in low-speed car accidents, in speeds as low as 10km/hour.

People are especially vulnerable to sustaining a whiplash injury if they do not expect the injury to occur, or do not have time to brace themselves appropriately. This is why the sudden sudden, violent or unexpected forces that occur in car accidents are the main cause of whiplash injuries.

How is whiplash treated?

Whiplash is generally treated conservatively by General Practitioners, with simple analgesia like Panadol and Nurofen, or with heat rubs and heat packs. People suffering from whiplash, regardless of severity, are also commonly referred for physiotherapy, and other rehabilitative treatment. This treatment is available to most people through Medicare, or, if you are making a claim, will be funded by the relevant CTP insurer – providing they deem the rehabilitative treatment to be “reasonable”.

How long does whiplash take to resolve?

Whiplash symptoms typically settle within 6 – 10 months of the date of injury, however, in more moderate and severe cases, symptoms can become chronic, and persist for indeterminate periods of

Proving that I have whiplash in a personal injury claim

When making a personal injury claim evidence is everything. In order for CTP insurers and solicitors to quantify your claim (i.e. calculate how much your claim is worth), they will consider the medical evidence that is available, as well as any other evidence, such as statements from employers or employment (e.g. to see if you needed time off work).

Because whiplash generally doesn’t appear on diagnostic scans, it is important to regularly see your General Practitioner, physiotherapist or any other relevant treatment provider whilst your symptoms persist so that there is clear evidence of your injury.

Without this evidence, insurers are unlikely to make significant allowances for your injuries.

Personal Injury Claims

1 MAIC Annual Report 2019-2020.

At Claimwise our mission is to help you save money on your legal fees. By starting your CTP claim with a traditional ‘No Win, No Fee’ law firm your total legal fees can end up being $10,000 or more higher than by using us.

If you or someone you know have been injured on the road in Queensland and want to keep your legal costs down, feel free to get in touch with us.

Be smart, claim wise.

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