Neck injury claims are among the most common personal injury in the UK and are part of a group of injuries referred to as musculoskeletal disorders. Musculoskeletal disorders take into account lower limbs, backs and upper limbs/neck with 45% of all musculoskeletal disorders revolving around upper limbs or neck injuries.
Defining A Neck Injury
Any injury to the neck area can be extremely painful but it is worth noting that this type of injury can relate to the spine, bone, muscle, cartilage, ligaments or tendons between the head and the back area. It has also been proven that neck injuries are linked to an array of psychological symptoms including anxiety and depression and can be acutely debilitating. It will obviously depend upon the severity of the injury, and the impact of the person’s life, as to what level of compensation may be awarded. The severity of any neck injury will be grouped as follows:
Minor Neck Injury
The neck is obviously a very delicate part of the body and those injuries deemed “relatively minor” include minor numbness and pain which can still result in time off work. This is often caused by damage to the muscle, soft tissue, ligaments or tendons and thankfully they tend to heal very well. However, even in this group of injuries deemed “relatively minor” you may still experience neck pain for a period of anything up to one year.
Moderate Neck Injuries
Neck injuries such as prolapsed discs, cervical spondylosis, ongoing neck pain and permanent injuries are deemed to be in the moderate class. Each neck injury will be reviewed on its own merits and while deemed to be “moderate” these types of injuries can attract significant compensation awards. Whiplash is a common injury incurred during road traffic accidents and the impact of this particular type of injury can last between one and two years. If you have suffered this type of neck injury from a road traffic accident as an example, our whiplash claims page provides more information.
Severe Neck Injury
The neck is obviously an integral part of the spine and unfortunately significant damage to the spine can result in varying degrees of paralysis. Paraplegia and quadriplegia are just two such conditions associated with severe neck injuries and can literally change a person’s life in a second. These are the types of injuries which attract the highest compensation awards because of their debilitating impact upon everyday life and the limited chance of a full recovery.
Workplace Neck Injury Claims
As we touched on above, neck injuries have a major impact upon the working environment often resulting in extended leave from employment. It is worth noting that any injuries incurred in the workplace, where a third party has been negligent, may result in a strong neck injury claim for compensation.
We know that employers have a duty of care to their employees with regards to their safety and working environment. The same is true for non-work-related accidents as a result of badly maintained paths and highways, unsafe public events, road traffic accidents and in particular the emergence of trampoline parks – with various parties often held liable for injuries. We will now take a look at the guidelines for neck injury compensation awards which can range from just a few hundred pounds up to £100,000 and above in cases of paralysis and permanent disability.
Neck Injury Compensation
While the guidelines for neck injury compensation are exactly that, not set in stone and not legally binding, they are used on a regular basis by the courts, solicitors, and insurance companies to calculate personal injury compensation payments. The figures are calculated by the Judicial College which takes into account historical cases.
- Minor neck injury – Soft tissue injuries are the most common type of neck injury often referred to as whiplash. The duration of the injury and pain can last up to 3 months and attract compensation awards in the region of £300 up to £6,000.
- Moderate neck injury – Moderate neck injuries are considered as injuries such as dislocations or fractures. The level of compensation for what would be considered as a moderate neck injury takes into account the severity, amount of pain, length of time the injury lasts, level of recovery. Compensation guidelines for a moderate neck injury can range from £6,000 to £29,250.
- Severe neck injury – This type of injury takes into account the severest forms of neck injury resulting in permanent disability with the most severe including conditions such as paraplegia, spastic quadriparesis and paralysis. Compensation awards for severe neck injury are expected to range from around £34,575 to £112,750.
It is worth noting that the above payments refer to what are known as “general damages” which is monetary compensation for:
- Pain and suffering.
- Mental trauma.
- Life changing injuries.
There is a second element of the compensation system which is known as special damages. This simply relates to costs incurred and future medical costs as a consequence of an injury. This can take in a variety of different elements including:
- Loss of earnings.
- Future loss of earnings.
- Medical expenses.
- Future medical expenses.
- Additional transport expenses.
- Special adaptions to the home.
While there is a degree of discretion when ruling on general damages, special damages are purely and simply reimbursement of financial costs and covering financial liabilities going forward. When you bear in mind the medical attention required for severe paralysis caused by a neck injury the combined compensation awards can rightly be extremely high.
Common Neck Injury Claims
There are many different ways in which neck injury claims occur but common instances include:
- Whiplash as a result of a car accident or dangerous driving.
- Surgical negligence resulting in neck injuries.
- Injuries as a consequence of tripping, slipping or falling on unsafe ground.
- Misdiagnosis of medical conditions.
Whiplash is an area which has attracted more than its fair share of attention in recent times. Historically it has been a goldmine for fraudulent activity as many insurance companies preferred to pay out the relatively small compensation awards rather than incur significantly greater legal expenses.
The situation has changed dramatically over the last few years with insurance companies now clamping down on whiplash compensation awards and the government reaffirming this situation with revised payment regulations. The stigma related to any whiplash compensation claim has lifted somewhat and it is worth noting that if you have a valid whiplash claim there is no reason why you should not pursue this through the courts.
What To Do If You Have A Neck Injury Claim
If you have received a neck injury as a result of negligence by one or more third parties then you may well have a valid neck injury compensation claim. Initially it is imperative that you seek medical attention as soon as possible in order to receive the correct treatment. If you do eventually pursue a neck injury claim, within the traditional three-year timescale, it is worth noting that your medical records will take note of the neck injury incident, when it occurred, how it occurred and any injuries sustained. This information often creates a solid foundation on which to pursue a neck injury claim.
Once medical treatment has been received it is imperative that you document the events leading up to the neck injury, what happened, when it happened and who was involved. This detailed information, together with your medical records, will allow a personal injury solicitor to consider your case. If possible, photographic and any witness statements should also be included in your report to give a broad picture of what happened. Should you contact us about your neck injury and our personal injury solicitors conclude you do have a compensation claim for neck injury you will be offered a No Win No Fee arrangement.
Lodging A Neck Injury Claim
When lodging a neck injury claim for compensation the defendant must be informed of the legal action and the basis upon which it is being pursued. This will give the defendant the opportunity to review the evidence and in many cases, where negligence is obvious, an out-of-court settlement may be proposed. This will essentially mean legal representatives for both parties discussing the implications of the neck injury in detail and attempting to agree a compensation award. This is probably the preferred route for both defendant and claimant because it will reduce legal costs for the defendant and bring to a close what may well be a very difficult period for the claimant.
There will be occasions where liability in a neck injury claim is disputed, or there may be more than one party potentially liable, with a court case the possible route. It is worth noting that in the event that more than one party may be partially liable for the neck injury, and potential compensation, it is still possible to lodge a claim. It will then be up to the parties involved and the courts to address the issue of shared liability for the neck injury claim and any resulting compensation award.