The latest industry insights into compensation law.

Whiplash: A Broad Range of Injuries With Potentially Severe Consequences

Whiplash injuries, often associated with car accidents, can manifest in various degrees of severity, ranging from seemingly minor soft tissue strains to more significant verterbral disc bulges causing neurological symptoms. While some whiplash injuries may not show up on radiological scans, they can still lead to debilitating conditions affecting daily life, especially in certain employments. In Queensland, the Compulsory Third Party (“CTP”) compensation scheme seeks to address the impact of these injuries, providing compensation for economic loss to help individuals cope with the challenges they face.

Soft tissue injuries, the most common form of whiplash, occur when the muscles, ligaments, and tendons surrounding the spine are stretched beyond their normal range of motion. Despite not appearing on radiological scans, these injuries can cause significant pain and discomfort, limiting movement and impacting daily activities. While some may recover within a few weeks with proper rest and physical therapy, others may experience ongoing chronic pain and stiffness, affecting their ability to work and engage in regular activities.

On the other end of the spectrum are cervical disc bulges, where the impact of whiplash causes the discs between the vertebrae to bulge or herniate, leading to compression of the nerves and spinal cord. This can result in neurological symptoms such as numbness, tingling, and weakness in the upper or lower limbs, depending on the vertebral level is affected. Individuals with these more severe injuries may require surgery or long-term medical management to alleviate symptoms and prevent further complications.

The severity of whiplash injuries can have a significant impact on individuals’ ability to perform their jobs, particularly in professions that require physical labour, or prolonged periods of sitting or standing. For example, a construction worker may find it challenging to lift heavy objects or operate machinery with a neck injury, while an office worker may struggle to concentrate and perform tasks due to pain and discomfort.

Under the Queensland CTP Scheme, individuals who suffer whiplash injuries may be entitled to compensation for economic loss, including medical expenses, rehabilitation costs, and lost income. The amount of compensation awarded generally depends on the severity of the injury and its impact on the individual’s ability to work and earn a living. In addition, where the injured person is in need of ongoing care from loved ones and family, this care can be claimed at a commercial hourly rate, provided certain criteria are met.

In making a claim for a client under the CTP scheme, we as lawyers seek to recover a lump sum for damages compensation that will alleviate the financial burden placed on our clients and their families due to whiplash, allowing them to focus on recovery and rebuilding their lives.

In doing so it is essential to recognize that even lesser forms of whiplash can have a significant impact on individuals’ lives, particularly in certain employments where physical ability and concentration are crucial. By understanding the varying severity of these injuries and the potential long-term consequences, we can better support those affected and ensure they receive the compensation they need to recover and move forward.

Greg is widely regarded as one of Australia’s leading compensation law experts. Greg has a very healthy practice and enjoys providing his clients with superior personal service in every case. Greg is absolutely committed to achieving the best settlement outcomes for his clients while keeping the legal costs down.

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State updated!
Your state has been updated to QLD. Practice areas on compensation law have been updated.