The Emotional Side Effects of Whiplash

Most people have heard of whiplash, just as most people know it is a neck injury that is generally associated with a road traffic accident. What most people do not realise is how severe the emotional side effects of whiplash can be.


Being involved in a road traffic accident, or any other type of accident, can be a traumatic experience. For instance, the emotional side effects of whiplash can be:

  • Travel anxiety– where the victim is frightened to get into any type of motor vehicle. Sometimes the victim is not even aware they have the problem, but will do things like not buy a travel ticket and then make excuses.
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder- triggered by a terrifying event. The victims may have flashbacks, nightmares and severe anxiety as well as be unable to stop thinking about the event. With care, such symptoms usually improve and eventually disappear, but in some cases they last for years.
  • Depression – this causes intense feelings of sadness and the victims tend to lose interest in the things they enjoy. There are often feelings of hopelessness and lots of tears. It can also have physical symptoms like loss of appetite, sleeping badly and no sex drive.
  • Sleep problems – this is normally temporary, due to the stress and trauma of the accident and injuries. If it continues for a long time, the victim might have developed a sleep disorder, which can have a negative impact on energy levels and effect the emotional balance of their life.
  • Poor concentration – one of the most common causes of poor concentration is stress. When someone is dealing with stress, the brain produces a stress hormone called cortisol. Constant stress can lead to high levels of this hormone in the blood, which can result in poor concentration.
  • Short-term memory problems – this is present to some degree in most whiplash sufferers. Quite often victims will get lost easier or have trouble with numbers and even a mild form of dyslexia can set in for a while, where everything seems to be backwards.
  • Mood swings – the victim will not always be aware this is happening until someone else points it out, but the emotions can become very fragile and to the onlooker, seem like changes in personality. Thankfully, this does not normally last very long.

How the emotional side effects of whiplash are treated

A lot of the time and lots of rest will start to heal the physical injuries, and as they improve so do the emotional side effects of whiplash. Unfortunately, this is not always the case and medical intervention may be needed. Support from families and friends helps too, but sometimes it needs someone the victim is not involved with for them to tell their problems to, such as a counselor.

Hopefully, given time and a bit of tender loving care, the emotional side effects of whiplash will disappear and the victim will be able to get their life back to some form of normality.

Where next

The emotional side effects of whiplash are as much an injury as the pain in the neck, and should be treated as such. If the accident you had, that caused your whiplash and its associated problems, was not your fault or down to the negligence of someone else, you should make a personal injury compensation claim.

The criteria

The criteria for making a claim is really straightforward:

  • The accident must have happened within the last three years
  • You should have been the blameless victim of the accident
  • Your injuries should have needed medical attention

Three simple questions, and if you say yes to all three, you may be entitled to make a personal injury compensation claim.

The accidents

Car Crash A2 Rochester 07/05/2011

Injury claims cover all types of accidents, no matter how they are caused. Some of the more common ones are:

  • Car crashes
  • Crashes with larger vehicles like buses or lorries
  • Work related accidents
  • Industrial illnesses and diseases
  • Motorbike accidents
  • Slip, trip and falls
  • Food poisoning
  • Bicycle accidents
  • Medical negligence
  • Holiday accidents
  • Accidents in schools, colleges and universities
  • Criminal injuries
  • Fatal accidents
  • Accidents while playing sport

All these accidents, and these are just a few – the list is endless – could cause serious injuries the victim may well be entitled to make a personal injury compensation claim.

The UK law

The law in the UK says that if you have been injured in an accident, which someone else caused, then that person should financially compensate you. Even though it is the law of the land, there are surprising amounts of injured people who don’t bother to claim what is theirs by right. Why is not clear, but there are lots of injured parties missing out on financial awards that could make their life a whole lot easier.

The other part of the claim

You may be wondering just how much compensation you could claim from whiplash? Your claim will basically be split into two parts, the compensation for you injury and money to cover your out of pocket expenses, or special expenses payments, as they are referred to. The sorts of things this might be are:

  • Loss of earnings, for the future as well as what has past
  • Care costs if you are not able to carry out day today tasks for yourself
  • Travel costs to and from medical appointments
  • Extra medical expenses like prescriptions and private medical treatment
  • Home adaption costs if say your legs are damaged and you have to use a wheelchair, you may then need ramps fitted into your home
  • Funeral and probate costs if the victim dies from their injuries
  • Any other cost or loss that is a direct result of the accident and injuries it caused

The important part

Obviously the most important part of any situation along these lines is that the victim recovers and life gets back to normal.

Also very important, is that they make sure they pursue a personal injury compensation claim. They need to do this, not just for himself or herself but also for everyone else out there. What if a doctor gets something wrong with a patient – will he keep making the same mistake and other people suffer because of it. If you are looking for how much compensation for whiplash you could claim, contact Accident Advice helpline.