Road Traffic Accident FAQ’s

My insurer wants to sort the claim out for me. Is this a good idea?

Insurers have tirelessly lobbied the government to push down the level of compensation they have to pay out to victims of accidents. Birchall Blackburn Law is completely independent of any road traffic insurer. Whereas insurers today are constantly campaigning to drive down the amount of compensation they have to pay out to victims of road traffic accidents, Birchall Blackburn is not constrained by the policies or motives of large insurance companies and is committed to getting you the very best personal injury compensation settlement possible.

My insurer has recommended a law firm to sort the claim out for me. Is this a good idea?

Make sure the law firm you choose is not an insurer in disguise.

Many larger law firms today either have significant ties to insurers or are actually owned by them. Whereas insurers today are constantly campaigning to drive down the amount of compensation they have to pay out to victims of road traffic accidents, Birchall Blackburn is not constrained by the policies or motives of large insurance companies and is committed to getting you the very best personal injury compensation settlement possible.

My insurer is driving me round the bend. What can I do?

Choose your own lawyers to fight your corner. Whereas insurers today are constantly campaigning to drive down the amount of compensation they have to pay out to victims of road traffic accidents, Birchall Blackburn is not constrained by the policies or motives of large insurance companies and is committed to getting you the very best personal injury compensation settlement possible.

What is whiplash?

Whiplash is a non-medical term that has become widely used in road traffic accident claims. Essentially it is the nick name for describing cervical (neck) acceleration-deceleration injuries. Or hyperflexion and hyperextension of the neck.

In other words, it happens when you get a sudden and unexpected jolt from behind or to the side that causes your neck to snap backwards (as your body is pushed unexpectedly forwards). Your neck then goes forwards, as it catches up with your body, but then overtakes it as the forward momentum of the body slows down quicker that the forward momentum of the head.

So in actual fact, the upper part of your spine performs an action very similar to a whip when it is being cracked. This is what happens in a “rear end shunt”. Not too surprisingly, this can cause distress and injury to the soft tissues surrounding the spine: nerves, tendons and muscles. In extreme cases, more severe injuries affecting the actual spine and the discs in the spine can occur. At its most extreme, a severe jolt can sever the spinal chord causing paraplegia. Fortunately this is rare.

As a person suffering whiplash you may experience the following symptoms:-

  • Pain and aching to the neck and upper back
  • Referred pain to the shoulders
  • Sensory disturbance to the arms and legs such as pins and needles or other types of neuralgic pain

Headaches

The full onset of symptoms may not be realised until a couple of days after an accident as muscles start to tighten and go into spasm.

In severe cases, soft tissue (muscular) based symptoms can persist for up to two years.

In many cases, constant discomfort in the neck area (which is thought to be the cause of associated head aches) will eventually abate but symptoms then return on an intermittent basis: either first thing in the morning, last thing at night or after prolonged periods in one position (such as driving).

The key to recovery is swift rehabilitative treatment such as physiotherapy and the use of Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (“NSAIDS”), the most common of which is ibuprofen.

For some victims of whiplash the accident brings forward or “accelerates” degeneration of the spine. The effect is that although the victim returns to what a doctor may describe as their “pre-accident state”, they may have unfortunately returned to what would have occurred to them in any event a number of years down the line and feel that, as a result, they have never returned to a pain free state following their accident.

Our experts at Birchall Blackburn Law are trained to analyse and interpret medical evidence and explain its meaning to our clients in simple, easily understandable terms.

What is the ‘Low Velocity Impact’ argument?

In more recent times motoring in the UK has seen the following changes:

A vast improvement in the crash safety of even the smallest cars and
A significant increase in the number of cars on the road

and as a result we often feel like we are moving a lot slower to get to our destination.

Given these three factors, the insurance industry has in recent years taken to challenging the validity of many genuine accident victims by claiming that the speed of a given collision, and the structural integrity of the vehicle that person was travelling in, has completely protected them from injury.

In other words, it has become very common place for a road traffic insurer to allege that the driver of the other car was not going fast enough to cause injury when they crashed into you.

This is called a “Low Velocity Impact (LVI) challenge”.

It can be very upsetting indeed to have suffered the pain and disruption of a road traffic accident only to be told by the insurer of the driver who crashed into you that they do not believe you when you say that you are injured. It can also be very unnerving if the insurer effectively implies that you are not telling the truth.

At Birchall Blackburn Law we understand that every one is different and that the speed at which a collision takes place is only one of a number of factors that needs to be considered by a court when assessing the extent of a person’s injuries. We have specialists who have successfully defeated LVI challenges brought by insurers. We will not allow our clients to be bullied by insurers. Our experts will talk you through the legal implications of such a challenge, carry out a full assessment of your case and if need be, apply to the court for specialist engineering evidence to ensure you get the accident compensation you deserve.