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Table of contents

1. The true losses suffered in a Car Accident are often under-estimated.2. Who can claim motor vehicle injury compensation?3. What can you claim for as part of motor vehicle injury compensation?4. What are the most common road and car accident injuries?

If you have suffered a neck injury due to the negligence of others in Queensland then you may be entitled to a compensation claim.

Neck injuries are especially common in car accidents and work accidents

Common causes of neck injuries: 

A person can sustain an injury to the neck in multiple ways. 

  • Car and vehicle accidents: They are often seen in motor vehicle accidents caused by the rapid flexion/extension forces involved in the collision, and where they are commonly known as “whiplash” injuries.
  • Bicycle and motorcycle accidents: While helmets reduce the impact of a bicycle accident or motorcycle accident injury, the heavy impact on the neck as the head hits the road, path or ground in an accident can cause serious neck injuries.
  • Being hit by an object: Neck injuries can be caused due the impact of a falling object or a side impact, for example, a pallet being carried by a forklift in a warehouse could crash into a warehouse worker.
  • Slips and falls: However, they can be caused in other scenarios, such as when an item falls onto a person while they are shopping or even a slip and fall in a public place.

Sometimes a neck injury can be a soft tissue injury, that is the muscles and ligaments surrounding the spine. In other injuries, the injury may include damage done to the internal structure of the cervical spine, including fractures to the vertebra and its surrounding structures or to the spinal cord itself. Generally, the greater the forces involved the more likely that the injury will include injury to not only the soft tissue but to the structure of the cervical spine as well.

Compensation for neck injury in car accident

Neck injuries are commonly seen in motor vehicle accidents, especially accidents involving collision to the rear of a stationary motor vehicle by another moving vehicle. 

In those scenarios, it is usually the case that a passenger (or driver) in the stationary vehicle is not anticipating that the rear of the vehicle will be read into. They are usually sitting relaxed, looking forwards in their vehicle (or sometimes to the side) when the impact is felt. Their bodies are thrown forwards by the forces of the collision. Their torso is restrained by their seatbelt, but their head continues forward until it reaches maximum extension, then thrown backwards towards the headrest in the seat. This is a classic cause of whiplash injuries

Often people who receive whiplash style neck injuries make good recovery from the injury without ongoing issues if they seek early rehabilitation for this type of neck injury.  Physiotherapy is the most common form of rehabilitation that people with neck injuries have. 

In motor vehicle claims, the CTP insurer has an obligation to provide reasonable and necessary rehabilitation. A lawyer experienced in neck injury claims will be able to assist you in getting the rehabilitation you need.

Neck injury at work compensation

People who suffer neck injuries in a work-related incident would usually be entitled to claim workers’ compensation. It is important that if you suffer a neck injury at work that you report the injury to your employer and see a doctor as soon as possible. 

Workers’ compensation insurers have an obligation to provide workers with neck injuries with access to medical and allied health treatment to rehabilitate them from their injury.

If you are having any difficulties getting access to the medical treatment you need for your neck injury suffered at work then a lawyer experienced in neck injury claims will be able to assist you in getting the rehabilitation you deserve.

Neck injury from public place injury

If you suffer a neck injury in a public place, for example from a slip and fall, it is important that you report the incident causing you to suffer the neck injury to someone who is responsible for the public place. For instance, if the incident happened in the food court at a shopping centre, if possible you should locate the Centre Management office for the shopping centre and tell them you have been injured. They may ask you to complete an incident report. You should also then consult with your general medical practitioner and seek treatment for your injury.

Often it is difficult to get the medical treatment expenses paid for treatment of your neck injury before finalising a claim for damages. If you are in the fortunate situation where you can afford private health insurance, then you can get the treatment you need subsidised through that insurance while your damages claim is being processed.

How much compensation will I get for a neck injury?

A neck injury is a form of personal injury. The compensation paid in personal injury claims in Queensland is assessed on a subjective basis, meaning that your compensation will be personalised to you and your circumstances. No two claims are the same. Having said that, there are common features in every personal injury claim.

You will receive some compensation for the fact that you have sustained a neck injury. The amount of compensation depends on the nature of the neck injury sustained. If that injury involves permanent impairment to the underlying structures of your cervical spine, then it is a more serious injury and the level of compensation will be much more significant.

What does a neck injury claim compensate for?

A neck injury is a form of personal injury. The compensation paid in personal injury claims in Queensland is assessed on a subjective basis, meaning that your compensation will be personalised to you and your circumstances. No two claims are the same. Having said that, there are common features in every personal injury claim.

The common features in the assessment of compensation are that amounts will be allowed as damages to compensate you for the following losses:

  • the pain and suffering suffered and impact upon your ability to attend your daily living and social and recreational activities.
  • the loss of any capacity to work - including losses arising from a reduction in the hours that you can work; the impact on your ability to work overtime or loss of opportunity for promotion, loss of superannuation contributions, etc
  • the out-of-pocket expense incurred in seeking treatment of the neck injury or relief from pain caused by the neck injury, both in the past and into the future.
  • in appropriate cases, the cost of obtaining assistance to attend to domestic and household tasks that but for the neck injury you would otherwise have been able to do yourself.

A lawyer who is experienced in neck injury claims will be able to give you a clearer picture of the nature of the claims you are able to make for your neck injury.

What are the time limits for neck injury claims?

A neck injury claim is a personal injury damages claim. In Queensland, there are strict time limits on bringing claims for personal injury damages claims. The claim must be lodged in a court within three years of the date of the incident causing the injury otherwise the claim becomes statute barred and lost forever. 

There are other time limits for giving notices to insurers in personal injury damages claims in Queensland which must be observed. 

Accordingly, it is very important that you speak with a solicitor experienced in personal injury damages claims to ensure that your right to compensation is not lost.

Posted by Chris McMahon Special Counsel

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Disclaimer: Please note, this content is designed as general information only and does not constitute legal advice. While we make every effort to fact check and keep items up to date, legislation may change from time to time. For advice on your specific situation then please contact us.
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