Whiplash and personal injury law
Whiplash is a well-known type of personal injury. Unfortunately, not a lot of people know what to do when they suffer a whiplash, especially if it occurs while they are living in another country. Liability lawyer Glenn Kerver explains what whiplash is, when to take action and how to get justice through the law.
What is whiplash?
A “classic” whiplash injury is said to occur when a person’s head is forced rapidly backwards and then forwards, for example in a vehicle collision. However, broadly speaking, whiplash injury can refer to all complaints that arise after a violent movement of the head, regardless of the direction.
The vast majority of whiplash cases are caused by collisions with motor vehicles. However, whiplash can also be caused by contact sports injuries, accidents, assaults, falls or other traumatic events where the cervical vertebrae are injured through rapid acceleration or deceleration.
In a personal injury case, the person who caused the whiplash is liable for the damage incurred. The liability must of course be proven. In most cases, the perpetrator’s insurance company will be the party with which the victim communicates.
It often happens that such an insurance company will take the position that the victim’s complaints are not caused by the accident. This is particularly the case with cognitive complaints such as forgetfulness, concentration problems or fatigue. Such complaints can sometimes even be trivialised, which can be insulting to the victim. If you are involved in such a battle, a personal injury lawyer is a must.
Damages compensated for whiplash
If the liability is recognised by the perpetrator or if it is determined by a judge, the following costs are eligible for reimbursement:
- Costs directly incurred due to the whiplash injury. Consider, for example, medical costs, damage to your clothing or car or the costs of extra domestic help that you have had to engage because you cannot do everything anymore.
- It is also possible to be reimbursed for lost income. Consider, for example, income lost due to the (temporary) inability to work following the injury.
- In addition, you have a chance to receive compensation for your pain and suffering. This is compensation for the immaterial damages incurred, such as grief, pain and the loss of joy in life.
Take action in 3 steps
To take action, follow these steps:
Step 1 - Start collecting evidence immediately
Complete an accident form immediately after the accident and have it signed by all parties involved. Take photos of the damage or of the location and ask any witnesses for their details.
Step 2 - Go directly to a doctor to ensure an updated and clear medical file
Even if you have only received emergency care, it is important to keep your medical record as complete as possible.
Step 3 - Enlist a personal injury lawyer
Enlist a personal injury lawyer to hold the perpetrator or their insurer liable. Your lawyer will guide you through the entire process.
Looking for a personal injury lawyer?
Often interests do not run parallel between you and the liable party. It is therefore necessary to be supported by an expert lawyer who represents your interests.
GMW lawyers can guide you through the entire process, with personal injury lawyers who can assist you in English, Dutch and Turkish.