More than a third of Brits who have been victims of whiplash still suffer with pain up to ten years after the accident, a report revealed yesterday.
In the first report of its kind into the impact that whiplash has on people, 37 per cent of victims have reported that their injury has had a long lasting effect on how they live their lives and their finances.
For those people that said they still suffer with pain, day to day activities like walking, sleeping, driving, hugging their children and showering were shown to be a major problem years after their accident, with a fifth complaining of pain every other day.
Nearly two thirds said the pain had resulted in problems for them at work with many complaining they were forced to take time off because of the pain, had to change the roles they could perform and have to rely on their colleagues more for support. One in ten of those who still get pain said they had been forced to look for alternative work.
While the average injured person received £3,374 in compensation for their injuries a fifth said they had been left out of pocket by the accident with many blaming their inability to do day to day tasks for impacting their chances of promotion.
The report was compiled by law firm Slater and Gordon to highlight the impact whiplash and neck injuries can have on people’s lives following the Transport Committee’s inquiry into whiplash claims.
Slater and Gordon Chief Executive Officer Cath Evans said, “Whiplash has become synonymous with the idea of fraudulent claims in recent years when the reality is that it can often be a debilitating injury for victims.
“Many people feel the effects of their injury for years after the accident and as this report shows they can often go to great personal expense trying to reduce the pain through physiotherapy, pain medication, a new bed and reducing their activities at work.
“We are fully supportive of any attempts to reduce the amount of fraudulent insurance claims but this should not come at the cost of supporting genuine people who suffer pain for years after their injury."
The report was compiled from two pieces of research by independent market research companies Ipsos Mori and OnePoll who surveyed 900 and 2,000 people who have made a personal injury claim respectively.
The incidence of people making a whiplash claim over the last three years was just over 1 per cent of the population and half of respondents said they were prompted to make a claim after a call from their insurance company. In comparison just 19 per cent said they made a claim after seeing advertisements from compensation or claims companies.
Cath Evans continued, “We must ensure that genuine victims of whiplash get the support they need to rebuild their lives. Wherever possible this should come from the insurers of the at-fault driver. When the NHS and public services are under unprecedented pressure to save money, they cannot afford to pay for the costs of dangerous drivers.”
Slater and Gordon Lawyers have offices in London, Manchester, Liverpool, Birmingham, Sheffield, Derby, Milton Keynes, Merseyside, Bristol, Cambridge, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Newcastle, Wakefield, Halifax and meeting rooms in Bramhall, Cheshire.