Whiplash compensation, symptoms, treatment & recovery

Whiplash compensation lawyers servicing Brisbane, Gold Coast, QLD, VIC & NSW

Whiplash is a type of spinal injury affecting the neck. It is commonly sustained in car accidents, but can happen in any situation where the head is suddenly forced backwards and then forwards.

This movement puts the neck under a large amount of stress, and can lead to chronic discomfort and long-term loss of mobility.

The debilitating long-term effects of whiplash, if not treated correctly, make it vital to seek compensation if you have sustained whiplash or a serious neck injury in a car accident.

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Whiplash compensation claim service

When the spine’s cervical shape is strained beyond its usual range of movement, any subsequent damage can be referred to as whiplash.

Every instance of whiplash is unique, and needs to be treated on a case-by-case basis. 

This is also applies when seeking compensation for whiplash after a car accident and compensation payout amounts will, naturally, differ due to the effects whiplash injuries have on different people.

Recovering from this type of injury can be a complex process as it covers a variety of issues with the nerves, spinal discs, ligaments, bones and muscles.

What are the main causes of whiplash?

Motor vehicle accidents are one of the leading causes of whiplash. Additional risk factors include contact sports, physical assaults and other types of accidents, such as falls.

Any car accident can result in a neck injury, but rear end collisions have especially high rates of whiplash. When a vehicle gets struck from behind, its occupants will usually be thrown backwards on impact. This can force the neck to stretch beyond its usual range of motion.

Car accident-related whiplash can be compounded by the late onset of symptoms. People often don’t realise how badly they’ve been injured and fail to seek treatment until several days after the car accident.

It is, however, important to seek medical treatment immediately after a car accident, no matter how minor your injuries may seem. Failure to seek immediate medical treatment can affect compensation payout amounts as well as result in more severe injuries.

What whiplash symptoms might I suffer?

Whiplash symptoms can vary depending on the severity of the injury. The most common symptom is pain and stiffness in the neck, but other indications can include:

  • Headache

  • Pain in the shoulders and back

  • Muscle weakness

  • Dizziness

  • Eyesight disturbances

  • Difficulty speaking or swallowing

  • Hearing problems

If you experience any of these symptoms, always see a doctor. Seeking medical help will ensure you don’t worsen your whiplash injury. It can also help to ensure the motor vehicle compensation payouts you receive are fair.

How do I claim whiplash injury compensation?

If you have sustained whiplash, you may qualify for compensation, but what steps do you take and where do you go for assistance? Taking legal action can help you recover out-of-pocket expenses and lost income, so you can get back on your feet both physically and financially.

Making a claim after a motor accident involves a number of steps, and you should be aware that there are strict time limits that apply to motor vehicle accident compensation claims.

The steps you’d have to undertake if managing a claim yourself, can include dealing with the (MAIC) Motor Accident Insurance Commission, completing a (NOAC) Notice of accident claim form, ensuring you complete a CTP claim form for QLD, and more as you try to claim online for injury compensation.

We do that and much more, managing everything for you and using our experience to ensure we maximise your claim.

For assistance with making a claim for whiplash compensation, follow the signs to call, chat or email us here at The Personal Injury Lawyers today.

We’re happy to discuss your case, completely obligation-free, and provide you with experienced legal advice on, for example, whiplash injury compensation payout amounts.

Frequently asked questions about whiplash compensation claims, treatment & recovery

Since Whiplash usually results in soft tissue damage, it can be difficult to diagnose using X-rays. Specialised imaging tests (such as a CT scan or MRI) may be needed to detect any damage to your discs, muscles or ligaments.

Your doctor may also need to test your range of movement. If you can’t turn your head from side to side without experiencing pain, this is a clear indication of Whiplash.

Even simple neck movements can be extremely painful for Whiplash sufferers, but overcoming this stiffness is essential to the recovery process.

Medical research has shown that people who resume their day-to-day activities often heal faster than those who reduce physical movement for longer periods.

There are several exercises that may help reduce the pain and neck stiffness associated with Whiplash.


  • The chin nod – You can do this exercise while lying down. Simply move your chin in a forward nodding motion until you feel the muscles at the base of your start to stretch. Hold for 5 seconds, then move your head back to a neutral position. Repeat this movement 10 times.
  • Head rotation – Also done while lying down, the head rotation exercise involves slowly turning your head from side to side. The aim is to turn your head far enough so that it lines up with your chin. Hold each side for 5 seconds at a time.
  • Posture correction – Whiplash can cause bad posture, as people often slump to alleviate the pain in their neck. However, there are ways to correct this before it becomes a habit. Begin in a sitting position, then slowly draw your shoulder blades back and down. This will prevent any tension from building up in your upper back.


Be sure to get the all-clear from your doctor before doing any physical exercises, and always take things slowly.

In milder cases of Whiplash, symptoms should subside on their own after a few weeks.

However, more severe neck strains can require physical therapy.

To aid the recovery process, your physical therapy should start with passive treatments, such as deep tissue massage or hot and cold therapies.

Once your muscles are ready to start moving again, you can begin doing active treatments. This kind of physical therapy involves stretching and strengthening your neck and upper back through a series of exercises.

If Whiplash is causing you an intolerable amount of discomfort, there are steps you can take to help ease the pain.

The following treatments can be effective for whiplash pain.


  • Rest – While your long-term goal should be to get your neck moving again, resting for at least 24 hours after sustaining whiplash is essential (you may need to rest for a longer period of time if you have a severe case of Whiplash).
  • Ice – Applying ice to your neck can help reduce inflammation.
  • Over-the-counter pain medication – Mild to moderate Whiplash pain can be managed with medications like Panadol or Nurofen.
  • Prescription painkillers – For severe Whiplash, you may need to take prescription medication. Your doctor can advise you on a suitable course of painkillers.


Rehabilitating Whiplash can take anywhere from a few weeks to several months.

Just as the symptoms of whiplash can vary between cases, recovery times also differ depending on the nature of the injury.

If you have suffered a serious neck strain, you may be facing a long road to recovery.

Unfortunately, whiplash can also be permanent. Those that do improve after they suffer a whiplash injury usually see improvement within a few months.

At about 10 months after an accident, if you are still suffering from the effects of whiplash it is likely you will continue to do so at least intermittently for a long time.

Whiplash injuries can be serious and long-lasting, so it is important you engage a compensation lawyer to ensure you are compensated as much as possible.

Serious Whiplash can develop into a chronic condition that takes years to fully heal. In rare cases, the pain may never go away completely.

Neck strain injuries that last longer than 6 months are classified as chronic whiplash. Severe whiplash can also lead to osteoarthritis in the spine, or spinal stenosis, which puts pressure on the nerves in the neck.

Whiplash injuries can be extremely difficult to prevent, as they often occur suddenly. While it’s impossible to prevent all accidents, there are ways to reduce the risk of getting Whiplash.

Ensuring you wear your seat belt and have your car’s headrest positioned correctly can make you less vulnerable to sustaining motor vehicle accident-related Whiplash. Wearing safety equipment while playing sport can also help reduce the instance of Whiplash in athletes.

Many whiplash cases can be completed within about 12 months. This might seem like a long time, but an injured person must wait at least 8 months before they know whether their whiplash injury is permanent or not.

If more evidence is required some claims will take about 18 months to resolve, bearing in mind that this evidence often helps to increase the value of a claim.

More difficult claims can take about three years, particularly if they are required to go to a trial and be decided by a judge.

How much compensation will I get for my whiplash injury?

Our Compensation Calculator gives a basic indication how much compensation you may be due Three simple steps to get a fast overview of all the areas that you may claim for

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If you are looking for the best rated compensation lawyers in Brisbane, compensation lawyers on the Gold Coast, or anywhere in QLD, VIC or NSW then you’ve came to the right place. 

How much compensation did other people get awarded for their whiplash injuries?

To help you understand more how much other people were awarded for their compensation claims, (who may have similar injuries to you) we pulled together some helpful, real life compensation claim example case studies.

These include compensation for injury at work as well as car accident injuries and more.