How much compensation can I get for whiplash and anxiety?

Whiplash is the most common injury that people suffer in road traffic accidents (RTAs). So it’s no surprise that, according to Government data, 85% of all RTA personal injury claims in 2020 involved a whiplash injury.

In May 2021, the Government introduced its whiplash reforms, which aimed to simplify the process of making a whiplash claim after an RTA and brought in a tariff to bring transparency and consistency to such claims.

As well as claiming for whiplash injuries, claimants can get extra compensation for psychological injuries such as shock and travel anxiety.

How much is my claim worth?

As with claiming solely for a whiplash injury, the amount of compensation you can claim for whiplash with anxiety is determined by a tariff.

As you can see from the below image, claiming for related psychological injuries alongside whiplash can see your compensation award increase by £20 to £230, depending on how long it takes you to recover. Note that the timeline relates specifically to the whiplash injury.

Can I claim for psychological injuries as part of other RTA claims?

Yes, but you wouldn’t be able to claim compensation for shock or travel anxiety unless you had:

  • A physical injury; or,
  • A recognised psychiatric injury

If you’re involved in a serious RTA or another incident that leaves you injured, then you could, for example, bring a claim if you were later diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, although such a claim would likely include other injuries than whiplash, too.

How do I know if I’m suffering from anxiety after an RTA?

Like whiplash, the symptoms of anxiety can vary from person to person.

If you suffer from anxiety after an RTA, this could manifest itself as:

  • Feeling anxious before getting into the car
  • Experiencing a panic attack before getting into or while in the car
  • Having breathing difficulties while in the car

Sometimes, these symptoms will go away as time passes following the accident. But some people can feel intense anxiety for weeks, months and even years after being involved in an RTA.

In addition to the symptoms already mentioned, feelings of anxiety could also present as:

  • Behavioural symptoms, such as feeling like you can never relax, having problems concentrating and staying focused and getting angry easily
  • Mental symptoms, such as constantly feeling fearful and on edge, having trouble sleeping and experiencing flashbacks
  • Physical symptoms, like headaches, chest pain and an irregular heartbeat

If you know a little about whiplash symptoms already, you’ll recognise that some of these symptoms are the same. As such, if you feel anxious after being involved in an RTA, speak to your doctor and ensure you mention it during any medical assessment you undergo as part of a personal injury claim.

Can I claim special damages for my anxiety?

Yes. If you’re found to be suffering from anxiety due to your RTA, then you may also be able to claim special damages for things like loss of earnings related to your anxiety if, for example, you’ve had to take time off work for this reason rather than for whiplash or another physical injury.

When claiming for whiplash and anxiety together, you will receive a single general damages award per the image we displayed earlier.

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