Whiplash claims - A whiplash patient and a Doctor

Whiplash Injury Claims

Whiplash injuries can range from mild to severe and affect all areas of your life and work. While symptoms are mainly physical, long-term whiplash can have knock-on effects on both quality of movement and quality of life.

When your body is involved in an accident, the neck is one of the most vulnerable areas of the body. 

Supporting the full weight of your head (8-12 pounds), any wrenching type accident that causes a sudden forward-backwards movement can result in a mild to severe whiplash injury and form the basis of a whiplash injury claim.

Whiplash injuries can range from mild to debilitating and affect all areas of your life and work. While symptoms are mainly physical, long-term whiplash can have knock-on effects on both your quality of movement AND quality of life.

Whiplash - The ‘Hidden’ Injury

Whiplash is sometimes called a Hidden Injury because it can take some time to detect and diagnose. 

Because whiplash is not always diagnosed immediately after an accident, the victim can experience significant complications due to delays in their treatment. 

In the event of a traffic accident, it is normal for a victim to be distracted by adrenaline, follow-up insurance documentation, reports and general post-accident paperwork.

It is not uncommon for individuals to “feel fine” and resume their day only to realise they have whiplash much later.

Additionally, whiplash injuries are soft-tissue injuries and don’t involve any obvious injuries such as broken bones or blood which we might normally associate with an accident. 

This means that Whiplash can be difficult to prove even with the assistance of modern diagnostic tests such as MRI scans or X-rays.

This is just one of the reasons you may need the assistance of an experienced whiplash compensation solicitor to ensure your claim has the maximum chance of success.

Signs and symptoms of whiplash injuries

Whiplash symptoms typically appear within 24 hours after an accident. In some instances, symptoms may develop after a few days or even weeks.

Although whiplash is primarily a neck injury, the nature of the injury means soft-tissue damage can radiate out into the anatomically complex area of the neck, back, shoulder and head. 

It is not uncommon for victims to experience a variety of issues affecting muscles, joints, bones, ligaments, discs and nerves.

Some of the most common symptoms include

  • Neck, back and shoulder pain
  • Fracture of the vertebrae
  • Numbness
  • Paralysis (temporary or permanent)
  • Muscle ache and/or spasms
  • Joint stiffness
  • Dizziness, nausea and headaches
  • Tiredness and/or inability to concentrate
  • Blurred vision
  • Difficulty speaking or swallowing
  • Hearing difficulties

Whiplash effects on an individuals life 

Even a mild whiplash injury can significantly affect a persons ability to function normally and live a normal life. 

Whiplash injuries can be notoriously difficult to prove as they don’t involve broken bones or blood. However, the ‘hidden’ dangers of whiplash can be the effect on a person's life.

Just some of the effects on a person's life may include:

  • inability to carry out day-to-day tasks 
  • negative impact on personal relationships
  • inability to work or carry out employment duties
  • inability to pursue leisure activities
  • interference with quality of life 

In severe or long-term cases, it is not uncommon for an individual to experience psychological issues such as depression or anxiety.

Types of Whiplash injuries

Although we tend to associate whiplash with traffic-related incidents, whiplash injuries are a much broader event and can arise from sport,  physical abuse and slips, trips and falls.

Whiplash from road traffic accidents 

These are the most common cause of whiplash injury claims. 

While a rear-end collision is the most common cause of a whiplash injury, people can develop whiplash if a vehicle is struck from the front or from the sides too. 

Interestingly, before the invention of the car, whiplash injuries were called "railway spine" as they were most commonly associated with train collisions. Today, whiplash can occur from any traffic-related collision including accidents involving buses, the LUAS, trains and bicycles etc.

With regard to pedestrians and cyclists, this group is especially susceptible to whiplash-related injuries due to the lack of protection from the force of a vehicle impact.

Whiplash from sporting activities

Any impact sport involving physical tackles can result in a whiplash injury. 
Non-contact and solo sports such as horse-riding can carry risk too. 

Whiplash from slips, trips and falls

While whiplash may be commonly associated with vehicles and sport, it is possible to suffer a whiplash injury due to a slip, trip or fall. 

Any activity (such as a fall) that causes your neck to move back and forward forcefully and rapidly can contribute to whiplash and form the basis of a whiplash accident claim.

Compensation for Whiplash

Compensation for Personal Injury Claims including whiplash are estimated by the Personal Injuries Board and outlined in the Personal Injuries Guidelines (2022)

As a guide, whiplash injuries are covered under neck, back and shoulder Injuries of the Guidelines. 

Note: While the information below is taken from the Personal Injury Guidelines, please refer to the official Personal Injuries Guideline for the most up-to-date and accurate information.

Neck Injuries

Most severe neck injuries

Neck injury associated with incomplete paraplegia or resulting in permanent spastic quadriparesis or where despite the wearing of a collar 24 hours a day for a period of years, the neck could still not move, and severe headaches have proved intractable. €150,000-€300,000
Injuries, usually involving serious fractures or damage to discs in the cervical spine, which give rise to disabilities of considerable severity, but which fall short of those arising in (i) above; permanent damage to the brachial plexus or substantial loss of movement in the neck combined with loss of function in one or more limbs. 


Severe and serious neck injuries

Injuries causing very severe symptoms from fractures or dislocations that may require spinal fusion, or severe damage to soft tissues and/or ruptured tendons leading to chronic conditions and significant disability of a permanent nature. €70,000-€100,000
Injuries involving less serious fractures and dislocations than at (i) above, but which nonetheless cause severe symptoms and/or pain which will be permanent or recurring €50,000-€70,000
Cases involving soft tissue or wrenching type injury and disc lesion of the more severe type resulting in cervical spondylosis, serious limitation of movement, permanent or recurring pain, stiffness or discomfort and the possible need for further surgery with increased vulnerability to trauma.  €35,000-€50,000

Moderate neck injuries

Injuries which may have accelerated and/or exacerbated a preexisting condition over a shorter period of time, usually less than five years. This bracket will also apply to moderate soft tissue injuries where the period of recovery has been relatively protracted and where there remains an increased vulnerability to further trauma or permanent minimal symptoms. €12,000-€23,000

Minor Neck Injuries

Injuries where a substantial recovery takes place within one to two years. This bracket will also apply to short term acceleration and/or exacerbation of pre-existing condition, usually between one and two years.


Where a substantial recovery takes place between six months to one year. This bracket will also apply to short term acceleration and/or exacerbation of pre-existing injuries, usually less than one year. €3,000-€6,000
Where a substantial recovery is made within six months.  €500-€3,000

Back Injuries

Most severe back injuries


The most severe back injuries which fall short of paralysis but involve damage to the spinal cord and nerve roots leading to serious consequences not normally found in cases of back injury.

There will be severe pain and disability with a combination of incomplete paralysis and significantly impaired bladder, bowel and sexual function. 


Severe and serious back injuries


Cases less severe than those at (a) above but which have special features taking them outside any lower bracket of back injury. Such features include nerve root damage with associated loss of sensation, impaired mobility, impaired bladder and bowel function, impaired sexual function, depression, personality change, addiction issues, impact on work and possible unsightly scarring.


Disc lesions, fractures of discs or of vertebral bodies or soft tissue injuries leading to chronic conditions where, despite treatment (usually involving surgery), there remain disabilities such as continuing severe pain and discomfort, impaired agility and the risk of arthritis. 


Moderate back injuries


This bracket applies to a wide variety of injuries where the claimant will have residual disability albeit of less severity than in the higher brackets. 


Injuries to the back less severe than those included in the higher brackets. These will include injuries causing disturbance of ligaments and muscles causing pain and discomfort, soft tissue injuries resulting in a prolonged acceleration and/or exacerbation of a pre-existing back condition, usually by five years or more.

€20,000- €35,000

Minor back injuries


This bracket includes injuries such as sprains, strains and soft tissue injuries which are less serious. As with minor neck injuries, whilst the duration of symptoms will always be important, the considerations set out at 7.B. above will guide whether the award should be in the higher or lower category. 


(i) Where a substantial recovery without surgery takes place within two to five years.


(ii) Where a substantial recovery or a recovery to nuisance level takes place without surgery within one to two years. This bracket will also apply to short term acceleration and/or exacerbation injuries lasting between one and two years. 


(iii) Where a substantial recovery takes place without surgery between six months and one year. This bracket will also apply to short-term acceleration and/or exacerbation injuries, lasting between six months and one year. 


(iv) Where a substantial recovery is made within six months. 


Shoulder Injuries

Severe shoulder injuries


The most severe shoulder injuries, such as those involving damage to the brachial plexus nerves and which may result in paralysis of the arm, lack of muscle control in the arm, hand or wrist or other symptoms causing significant disability.


Serious shoulder injuries


Injuries in this bracket will include:

(i) Dislocation of the shoulder and damage to the lower part of the brachial plexus causing pain in shoulder and neck, aching elbow, sensory symptoms in the forearm and hand and weakness of grip;
(ii) Fractured humerus leading to permanently restricted shoulder movement;
(iii) Rotator cuff injury with persisting symptoms notwithstanding surgery


Moderate shoulder injuries


Frozen shoulder with limitation of movement and discomfort with symptoms persisting for some years and other soft tissue injuries where intrusive symptoms will be permanent.


Minor shoulder injuries


Examples of cases within this bracket will include soft tissue injury to the shoulder causing considerable pain but where there has been an almost complete recovery and a simple fracture of the clavicle with good recovery. 


(i) Where a substantial recovery takes place within two years.


(ii) Where a substantial recovery takes place within one year.


(iii) Where a substantial recovery takes place within six months.



Whiplash Claims FAQs

  • How is whiplash diagnosed?

    Whiplash can be a difficult injury to diagnose due to the soft-tissue nature of the injury. A successful diagnosis will involve a patient's medical history, physical examination, and diagnostic imaging by a GP or specialist.

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