Neck injuries range from minor soft tissue injuries to severe spinal and nerve damage that might change your life forever. You might get a neck injury in a road traffic accident, after a slip, trip and fall, in a workplace accident, or any other circumstances.
If another person is responsible for your neck injury, you might be entitled to make a neck injury claim. You could receive compensation for your pain and suffering, mental distress and any financial losses you incurred.
The first step towards securing the compensation you deserve is to contact a personal injury solicitor. If they consider you have a valid claim and a fair chance of success, they will offer you a no win no fee agreement.
For a free consultation with a legal adviser, call 0800 678 1410. They can let you know if you may be eligible to make a neck injury claim and answer any questions you may have.
Am I eligible to make a neck injury claim?
Not every neck injury will automatically qualify you to receive neck injury compensation. To be eligible for a claim, you will have to show that:
- you suffered an injury in the last three years
- somebody else was responsible for your injury
- that person owed you a duty of care
You might not always be sure whether a person owed you a duty of care. An experienced solicitor can help you establish liability based on the circumstances of your accident and any available evidence.
For example, all drivers owe other road users a duty of care, and employers have a legal responsibility towards the health and safety of their employees. If somebody breached their duty of care, causing you a neck injury, they would probably be liable to pay you compensation.
Your solicitor will assist you in putting together a strong claim. They will help gather proof, speak to witnesses and prepare all the legal documents. They will also approach the party you believe is at fault and negotiate a compensation settlement if they accept responsibility.
Otherwise, you will have to go to court and prove to a judge that you suffered a neck injury due to the defendant’s negligence. The judge will then decide a fair compensation amount that the defendant must pay.
It is important to note that most personal injury claims are settled out of court by negotiations between your solicitor and a representative for the defendant.
What are the different types of neck injuries?
Your neck is composed of muscles, spinal discs, vertebrae, nerves, tendons and ligaments covered by a layer of skin. You could suffer damage to any of these structures, and the deeper the injury is, the more severe the consequences.
The signs and symptoms of a neck injury depend on the part of the neck that was affected, but common symptoms are:
- pain that might spread to the head, jaw, shoulders or upper arms
- muscle tightness and spasms
- decreased mobility
- neck stiffness
- weakness in the arms and legs
- numbness or tingling
Common neck injuries suffered after an accident are:
Whiplash is most commonly associated with car accident claims, but can happen after any accident causing your head to move violently back and forth or sideways. This can overstretch and damage the soft tissues in your neck like muscles, ligaments or nerves. The pain and other symptoms might usually take up to a few days to develop.
These include stiffness, dizziness, headaches, tingling or weakness in your neck and limbs. Whiplash doesn’t usually cause any long-time damage, but you could develop chronic pain that might affect your work and daily activities.
Sprains and strains
Some injuries can cause muscle sprains and ligament strains in your neck. They usually cause neck pain that worsens with activity, reduced mobility and muscle spasms. Although mild sprains and strains heal within a few weeks with rest and medication, severe injuries might require surgical repair and months of physical therapy.
Repetitive strain injury (RSI)
Poor posture while sitting at the computer, maintaining an awkward position while working or lifting heavy objects can cause inflammation and trauma to the soft tissues in the neck. Symptoms of RSI include soreness, pain, stiffness and tingling.
The treatment for repetitive strain injury includes medication and physical therapy, but extensive damage is sometimes irreversible and might affect sleeping and daily activities.
Slipped or herniated disk
A herniated disk might result after a forceful collision, improper lifting of heavy objects or repetitive activities that strain the spine. A spinal disk hernia or slipped disc can compress the spinal cord nerves causing severe pain, numbness, tingling, paraesthesia, weakness or motor changes.
Treatments include physical therapy, medication, spinal fusion surgery or artificial disk replacement.
A vertebral fracture or a broken neck is a severe injury that requires immediate medical attention and is always a medical emergency. It could be the result of a car accident, a fall, a workplace accident or a violent attack.
A fractured neck could lead to damage of the spinal cord, which may cause paralysis or even death. A broken neck often requires surgery and spending a few months in a rigid cast.
Spinal cord damage
If you suffer forceful trauma, this might disrupt the vertebral bones and cause damage to the spinal nerves. Spinal cord injuries often involve the partial or complete loss of sensory or motor function. Signs and symptoms include loss of movement, loss of or altered sensations, pain or intense stinging, difficulty breathing. Spinal injuries can cause permanent paralysis and can also be fatal.
If you experience any type of neck pain caused by your work activities or an accident, you should visit a healthcare professional as soon as possible. This will minimise further complications and serve as evidence if you decide to claim neck injury compensation.
Your solicitor might also arrange a free visit with a licensed physician to assess the extent of your injury, the possible causes, your recovery prospects and how it might affect your life long-term. A free medical examination is a standard part of no win no fee claims.
What accidents are most likely to result in a neck injury claim?
You could suffer a neck injury in many different ways, with some caused by sudden violent trauma, while others develop over time. Assessing what type of injury you sustained and how this affected your life plays an important role in calculating your compensation amount.
The most common causes of neck injuries include:
- Road traffic accidents. Whether you were a passenger in a taxi accident, on a bus or a pedestrian hit by a car, all types of road accidents can result in neck injuries. A high-impact collision can cause minor to severe injuries to the muscles, tendons, ligaments, nerves or bones in the neck.
- Slips, trips and falls. Slips and trips caused by uneven pavements or slippery surfaces can lead to damage to the neck, of which whiplash and other soft tissue injuries are the most common.
- Lifting heavy objects. If your work tasks involve repeatedly lifting heavy objects, this can cause an overuse of the neck muscles, leading to strains on the joints in the neck or pinched nerves.
- Repetitive activities like working at the computer for many hours can cause musculoskeletal conditions such as text neck, muscle spasms and other repetitive strain injuries.
- Violent attacks. Blunt and penetrating neck trauma due to criminal assaults can have severe consequences, including fractures and spinal cord damage.
- Medical negligence. Neck injuries can also be caused by surgical errors, misdiagnosis or incorrect treatments.
- Accidents at work. Neck injuries in the workplace are often caused by sudden trauma caused by falling objects, falls or cumulative stress.
- Sports injuries. High-velocity collisions between players in sports like football or falls while riding a bicycle can often cause whiplash or even more severe injuries, like fractures.
- Swimming pool accidents. If you jump headfirst in a swimming pool without depth markers, you can suffer severe neck trauma that might have long-lasting consequences.
According to the particular accident that caused your injury, you could claim compensation from:
- A driver that caused a collision, in which case it will be their insurance company that will award you compensation.
- The Motor Insurer’s Bureau (MIB), if you were injured by an uninsured driver or in a hit and run accident.
- An owner or operator of a public place such as a restaurant, public swimming pool, supermarket or shop.
- The local authorities, if you suffered an injury due to a poorly maintained road or pavement.
- The Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA), if you are the victim of an assault.
Based on the circumstances of your accident, your solicitor will help you determine who might hold liability. They will contact the responsible party and try to reach an out of court settlement if they accept liability.
To start your claim, speak to a trained legal adviser by calling 0800 678 1410 for a free consultation.
How much neck injury compensation can I claim?
If you suffered a neck injury without being at fault, the amount of compensation you might receive depends on the extent of your injury, how this affected your life, and the financial losses you incurred as a result.
In any personal injury claim, the compensation award will cover:
Special damages for financial losses and expenses such as:
- private medical expenses
- rehabilitation and counselling
- costs of transportation
- current and future lost wages
- equipment and modifications to your home or vehicle
- any damaged or destroyed property
- costs of private care
General damages for non-pecuniary impacts the injury had on your life:
- physical pain and suffering
- emotional and psychological trauma
- decreased quality of life
- loss of amenity, like the inability to pursue a hobby or do sports
- loss of companionship
- loss of a unique career
- physical and mental disability
The compensation award for general damages is calculated based on the guidelines offered by the Judicial College. For example, you could claim:
- Up to £2,300 for a minor neck injury with full recovery within three months
- £2,300 to £4,080 for a neck injury with full rehabilitation within one year
- £6,290 to £10,960 for a moderate injury that worsens an existing condition
- £10,960 to £19,920 for moderate soft tissue injuries
- £12,900 to £23,460 for soft tissue damage resulting in limitation of mobility, long-time pain and a recovery period exceeding five years
- £23,460 to £36,120 for dislocations causing a significantly reduced mobility and inability to carry out daily tasks
- £52,390 to £104,370 for severe fractures or spinal disk damage
What evidence do I need to make a neck injury compensation claim?
A successful neck injury claim needs to be supported by relevant evidence about how the accident occurred, what injuries you sustained, and the financial losses you incurred. In this regard, you could provide:
- Medical reports regarding the extent of the injuries you suffered, the treatments you received, and any future interventions you might need.
- Photographs from the accident scene focused on what caused your injury.
- Pictures of your injuries and the recovery process.
- Written notes of your version of how the events occurred and any details you can remember about what you were doing right before the accident, the date, time and location of the event, if any witnesses were present, etc.
- Accident reports, if you got injured at work or in a public place such as a restaurant, shop or supermarket.
- Contact details of anyone involved in the accident and any witnesses that might testify on your behalf.
- Contact and insurance details of any drivers if you were injured in a road traffic accident.
- Any CCTV or dashcam footage that might have recorded the accident.
- Proof of lost wages, including both present and future losses.
- Proof of any other financial expenses such as travel costs, property damage, adaptations to your home or vehicle.
You may worry that you don’t have enough evidence to support your claim. But you shouldn’t worry, as your solicitor will help gather everything you need to make a successful claim. They will talk to witnesses and medical experts, obtain footage of the accident when it’s available, and use all available proof to establish liability.
How long do I have to claim for a neck injury?
Generally, you have three years after an accident to make a personal injury claim in the UK. The last day you can start a claim is known as the claim limitation date.
If you do not make a neck injury claim before the limitation date, your case becomes statute-barred, and you can no longer start legal proceedings.
There are several exceptions to the three-year limitation date:
- There is no time limit to start a claim on behalf of a child who suffered a neck injury. A litigation friend, usually a parent or guardian, may claim compensation at any point before the child turns 18. Afterwards, the victim will have another three years to make their own claim.
- A litigation friend can also claim neck injury compensation for a victim who lacks mental capacity due to a brain injury, a mental health condition or a learning disability. There is no time limit to start a claim as long as the victim is not able to conduct legal proceedings. The three-year countdown will only begin if they regain their intellectual ability.
- The three-year countdown will start on the day you learned of your injury if it does not coincide with the date of the accident.
- For injuries that happened abroad, the claim limitation date depends on the foreign country’s laws, and it might be as short as six months from your accident. A solicitor can let you know how much time you might have to start a claim for a neck injury you suffered abroad.
- According to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA), you have up to two years to make a neck injury claim if you were the victim of a violent assault or other criminal activity.
- A close family member can ask for neck injury compensation on behalf of a victim of a fatal accident within three years from the day of their passing.
To avoid missing your chance to make a neck injury claim, you should contact a legal adviser as soon as possible. Preparing a strong case might take a substantial amount of time, and most solicitors will not accept a claim with just a few months left before the limitation date.
How does no win no fee work?
A no win no fee agreement is a deal your solicitor might offer you if they decide you have a valid claim. They will assess your case based on the type of accident you had, the injuries you sustained and other details you are able to provide.
If they think you have a fair chance of success, you can claim on a no win no fee basis. This service doesn’t require you to pay any upfront fees or legal charges.
At the beginning of the claim, your solicitor will take out After the Event (ATE) insurance on your behalf. This insurance provides coverage for all legal costs, both for you and the defendant. If you end up losing your claim, you won’t have to pay a single penny.
Without ATE insurance, you would have to pay your own and the defendant’s legal costs such as barrister, solicitor and expert witness fees or any other related expenses if you lose your claim. This could amount to substantial figures.
In no win no fee claims, you will only have to pay a success fee if your solicitor secures the compensation you deserve. The success fee is always less than 25% of your compensation award, and you will agree upon it before starting the claiming process.
The no win no fee agreement allows you to pursue the compensation you might need to move on with your life without taking any financial risks. Your solicitor will take care of all the paperwork so you can focus on your recovery.