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How long does whiplash last?

What is whiplash?

Whiplash is an injury caused to the neck, following the sudden movement of the head or body which leads to damages of the muscles, ligaments, tendons and other soft tissues in the neck.

What causes whiplash?

Whiplash is mainly associated with road traffic accidents. However, it is possible to incur as the result of any accident that causes a sudden jolt to the head or body. Slips, trips or falls, sports injuries or being the victim of assault can all cause whiplash.

What are the symptoms of whiplash?

The symptoms of whiplash usually start around 6 to 12 hours after the accident happened, with additional inflammation and bruising taking 24-48 hours to develop.

The main symptoms of whiplash include:

  • Stiffness in the neck making it difficult to move your head up and down, or side to side.
  • Upper and lower back pain.
  • Pain in the shoulders and arms.
  • Headaches.
  • Tingling or numbness in the arms.
  • Swelling and inflammation.
  • Dizziness and fatigue.
  • Nausea.

The above symptoms may also lead to other problems such as difficulty with sleeping, concentration and memory.

How long does it take to recover from whiplash?

According to the NHS, whiplash injuries tend to last for around 2-3 months. As the extent of the injuries are so varied, recovery time can take in excess of 3 months and in the worst cases, symptoms can last for over a year.

Minor Whiplash

If you have suffered whiplash due to a minor road accident, you may experience a couple of days of neck and upper back pain.

This can usually be treated by taking painkillers such as paracetamol or ibuprofen. Symptoms will typically ease off within 2-3 weeks.

Although many people think that the support of a neck brace will help to aid in their recovery, it is advisable to try to keep your head and neck mobile to give you the best chance of healing.

Chronic Whiplash

Chronic whiplash is the term used to describe whiplash symptoms that last for 6 months or longer.

Sufferers of chronic whiplash are likely to have been involved in a more serious accident, which caused greater trauma to the head, neck and upper body. Your GP may prescribe stronger painkillers such as codeine and physiotherapy may be needed to help aid recovery time.

The pain and discomfort caused by the long-term effects can also impact the victim’s mental health. It may be necessary to seek psychological support to help you to cope with handling your pain and lifestyle changes.

In some instances, the symptoms may never fully go away. Long term physiotherapy or rehabilitation may be required.

Is it possible to speed up the recovery time from whiplash?

For the best chance of speeding up your recovery, seek medical attention as early as possible. Your doctor will be able to properly diagnose your injuries and advise on a treatment plan to help assist your recovery.

How to make a claim for whiplash?

If you’ve suffered a whiplash injury due to being involved in an accident that wasn’t your fault, you may be eligible to make a claim for compensation.

Whether your whiplash injuries are the consequence of a road traffic accident, a slip, trip or fall, an accident at work or an assault, True Solicitors may be able to help you with your personal injury claim.

Our expert whiplash injury solicitors are experience in obtaining compensation for thousands of clients each year. We will fight to get you the compensation, justice and rehabilitation that you deserve to get your life back on track. We will handle your claim on a No Win, No Fee basis.

As of the 31st May 2021 the laws around claiming compensation for a whiplash injury have changed. The Civil Liabilities Act 2018 – commonly referred to as the ‘whiplash reforms’ has been brought into effect for those who wish to seek compensation for a soft tissue injury to the neck, back or shoulder, sustained a road traffic accident.

A new fixed tariff of compensation, based on the length of time it takes the claimant to recover from their whiplash injury has been introduced. Visit our whiplash injury page for more information.

How long will a whiplash claim take?

Most whiplash claims are settled within a 6 month period, however this is dependent upon a number of different factors including:

  • Liability being accepted by the third party insurers.
  • The medical prognosis and expected recovery time.
  • The extent of the whiplash injury.

Your solicitor will be able to advise you on an approximate time frame based on the individual circumstances of your case.

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