Whiplash is the sort of injury everyone has heard of but few really know what it involves. It may seem like a relatively minor inconvenience to those who have not suffered from it previously.
However, those who have experience of the injury know the levels of discomfort and pain it causes.
It can last for days and it can last for months – each instance is different. One thing that is certain, though, is that 2021 is going to bring real change to what whiplash victims can do about their injuries.
Whiplash can cause a number of symptoms, with the severity of the injury dictating what specific symptoms are experienced.
Among the most common are:
- Neck pain
- Neck stiffness
- Tenderness around the neck, shoulders and spine
There are more serious symptoms that should not be ignored, however. These symptoms could be a sign of nerve damage and could mean you require medical attention. They include:
- Arms or legs feeling weak
- Problems walking or sitting upright
- Severe pain, despite taking painkillers
- Tingling or pins and needles on the side of the body
The most widely known cause of whiplash is road traffic collisions. They are most likely to happen when a vehicle is hit by another, causing the occupant’s head to be thrown backward and forward – rapidly and suddenly.
The movement causes ligaments and tendons in the neck to stretch and tear – a whiplash injury.
It can also be caused in other ways, though. Certain contact sports, like martial arts and boxing, can result in blows to the head that cause it to be thrown back and forth.
Falls and other accidents, including cycling crashes and being hit in the head by a heavy object, are also responsible for whiplash.
So although they are not the only cause of this injury, road accidents are the most common one.
2021 brings with it the promise of a reform to the way the UK processes whiplash claims. The government is insistent that the reforms will be introduced in April this year, despite concern that the processing system it plans will not be ready in time.
However, it also insisted that they would be implemented in 2020.
What it means for whiplash claimants is that they won’t be allowed legal representation for a standard claim of up to £5,000.
There has already been a great deal of discussion within the insurance and claims sectors about the plans. However, they have focused on the legal impact of these claims and tended to ignore the effect on sufferers.
These are the people who will find themselves losing out – on legal help and on the compensation they may need to help them make a fast and full recovery. These are the people who will receive less help in future for the same injuries.
These are the people who will be sidelined by the reforms.
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