If you suffer whiplash in an accident that was not your fault, you are entitled to make a personal injury claim. This is a fundamental legal principle, whereby anyone injured through another person’s negligence has the right to recover compensation for the pain and suffering caused. You do not, therefore, have to have been the driver: passengers have just much right to make a claim as any other person.
Whiplash is a soft-tissue neck injury commonly associated with road traffic collisions. It often occurs when a car is hit from behind by another vehicle. This sudden impact will subject anyone travelling within the car to a forceful ‘whipping’ motion, whereby their heads are violently thrown backwards and forwards. During the course of this head movement, the neck will hyperextend, meaning it is stretched beyond its normal limits. This damages the muscles and other tissue, leading to what is popularly known as a whiplash injury. Symptoms such as neck and shoulder pain, reduced neck mobility, dizziness and headaches will subsequently ensue, although it may take some hours for the problem to become apparent.
There have been a great many disparaging comments in the media recently about whiplash, but as many doctors will testify, it is a very real thing for a great many victims of car accidents. Claims in the press that whiplash is impossible to diagnose, and that if a person claims to have whiplash the court simply has to take him at his word, are nonsense. Doctors are perfectly well able to distinguish patients who have whiplash from those who are pretending, as is proved by the many reports filed each year which state that a passenger does not have whiplash despite his claims.
Can A Passenger Claim For Whiplash?
Therefore anyone travelling within the hit vehicle can suffer the effect of a whiplash associated disorder, including passengers. This may happen when you are travelling as a passenger in a car, or another mode of transport such as a bus or train.
But no matter where your whiplash injury took place, if you have been wrongly injured as a passenger, you will be able to make a claim against the person responsible. This may be the driver of the vehicle you were travelling in, the driver of the bus you were travelling in, or another road user.
To make a passenger whiplash claim, your first step should be to contact an experienced personal injury lawyer. After a short discussion about the details of your accident, a solicitor will be able to suggest what action you should take next. If they suspect you have indeed been the victim of passenger whiplash, you will be able to proceed with a claim. If your case is successful, you will be awarded compensation for the injuries you have sustained – both physically and financially.