Your guide to whiplash injuries from a road accident lawyer

 

What is the TAC?

The Transport Accident Commission known as the TAC is the Victorian state government body responsible for managing injury claims - such as a whiplash injury - made by people who have sustained an injury as a result of a motor vehicle, motorcycle, bus, train, tram or pedestrian accident in Victoria.

 

What is whiplash?

Whiplash is an injury of the neck and neck muscles that can occur when the head suddenly moves backward and then forward.

 

How does whiplash commonly occur, and how does whiplash feel?

If you have been injured in a motor vehicle accident, you may suffer a range of traumatic injuries such as broken bones, scarring, facial injuries or a head injury. You may also suffer a whiplash injury. Whiplash injuries in road accidents can often occur when you have been rear-ended in an accident (eg. when you have been stationary at a red light and hit from behind) causing your head to moves backwards and forwards. Whiplash symptoms can include headaches, chronic neck pain, stiffness, pain in your muscles and ligaments, and dizziness.  

 

Is all kinds of neck pain from car accidents whiplash?

If you believe you have suffered a whiplash injury or any other injury, you should immediately attend a hospital or contact a medical professional for medical advice or treatment. When whiplash occurs, injuries can often take days or weeks after an accident to be identified. If you experience whiplash-like symptoms, it is important to speak to a doctor as soon as possible. You may then be referred to undergo tests or radiological scans to determine whether you have suffered a whiplash injury.

 

How do I prove I am suffering whiplash?

In order to establish whether you have suffered a whiplash injury, you must seek immediate medical advice from your treating doctor or hospital, who may suggest you undergo radiological scans (eg. X-ray, CT scan or MRI scan) to your head, neck, and spine to determine what injury you have sustained. Depending on the results of the scan, your treating doctor may refer you to a specialist to determine the injury and a possible treatment plan. If you have undergone scans for a whiplash injury and are seeking legal advice as to your rights for compensation, you should try and obtain a medical report from your doctor, together with copies of your scans, to take to your lawyer for advice. Your lawyer can then advise you whether you are entitled to any compensation from the TAC, including any lump sum claims such as an impairment or a Common Law claim.

 

Can whiplash cause a brain injury?

A neuropsychological assessment is usually needed to determine whether whiplash causes cognitive symptoms. If you believe you have suffered a whiplash injury and are concerned about your symptoms, please speak to your treating doctor for medical advice regarding what steps and investigations you may require for a treatment plan for your symptoms.

 

Can whiplash be a legal issue?

If you have been involved in a car accident and suffered a whiplash injury, you may be covered for various entitlements under the TAC scheme, including medical and like benefits, loss of wages and potential lump sum claims including an impairment benefit claim, even if you were at fault for the accident. If you were not at fault for the accident, you may be entitled to further compensation or damages known as a Common Law claim for pain and suffering from your whiplash injury, and potentially an economic loss.

 

What can I do if I believe someone is responsible for my whiplash?

If the other party was at fault for the accident that caused you a whiplash injury, you should seek legal advice regarding your claim entitlements. A Common Law claim recognises the long-term impact that the accident and whiplash injury has had on someone. Common-Law damages can include loss of past and/or future earnings, and pain and suffering. A police report is the most common way to know who may be at fault in an accident. Sometimes it is not immediately clear who was at fault; there may also be more than one person or party who contributed to the accident.

 

How are cases involving whiplash usually resolved?

If the TAC recognises that you have suffered a serious injury as a result of the accident and you were also not at fault for the accident, then your compensation claim may resolve without the requirement of issuing Court proceedings. In some instances, the claim/case may resolve through informal discussions with the TAC.

 

How long does whiplash take to heal?

This may differ from person to person, and also depends on whether or not you have sought medical advice and have a treatment plan, and how your body responds to treatment. Some people can go back to normal function within a few months, with only very serious cases causing a permanent whiplash injury.

 

Why do I need a lawyer? 

Applying for compensation through the TAC can be complex. The claims process can be frustrating and difficult to navigate on your own. It is incredibly valuable to have an expert personal injury lawyer on your side. At Gordon Legal, our TAC lawyers are highly experienced with these claims for compensation and can guide you through any questions you may have about your claim, and, of course, ensure you achieve the best compensation outcome you can possibly achieve. You must also engage a medical professional for your whiplash injury.

 

How long after an accident can I make a whiplash injury claim?

You have 12 months from the date of your accident to lodge a claim, but the TAC has the discretion to accept a claim within three years. Because whiplash may not appear immediately, this can also be dependent on your case. In addition, you also have a 6-year strict time limit to pursue any lump sum claims being an impairment benefit or a common law claim.

 

What to do if this information applies to you

At Gordon Legal, we understand that whiplash injury is a personal issue.

For personalised and individual advice, we offer consultations to discuss your matter.

Please call Gordon Legal on (03) 9603 3000 or our Geelong office on (03) 5225 1600 to speak with a member of our team.

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