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There are many life-altering injuries that can be caused by a motor vehicle accident, ranging from minor to catastrophic. We understand that, no matter what the severity, suffering through injury can have a lasting impact on you or your family's lives.

That's why, over the past 80 years, we've represented injuries from broken arms to quadriplegia. We care about the rights and entitlements of all road accident victims.

Below are some of the most common car, motorbike, and public transport accident injuries we see:


The term whiplash is used to describe an injury to the spine caused by the sudden, violent movement of the head or neck, as can occur in a car accident.

The movement, often a forward/backward momentum, can occur when a vehicle is rear-ended, for example, and can cause the structures of the spine to become strained or damaged. This can cause additional symptoms such as:

  • Neck, shoulder or back pain
  • Headaches or jaw pain
  • Stiffness or restricted movement in back or limbs
  • Altered sensations in back, shoulders or limbs, such as numbness or pins and needles

Whiplash injuries can range from mild to severe and recovery can take a few days to many years. In more severe cases, whiplash injuries can be very debilitating, causing severe pain and restrictions, which can impact significantly on a person’s life, affecting their ability to work and carry out their activities of daily living.

Spinal cord injuries

A spinal cord injury is an injury to the spine, which is the structure of bone and tissue that runs from the base of our skull to the tail bone. The spine consists of a column of bones called vertebrae which are stacked on top of one another, separated by discs of tissue, which act as shock absorbers as well as hold the vertebrae together.

Running through the centre of this column, and protected by it, is the spinal cord, which is a bundle of nerve fibres that form the centre of the body’s nervous system. The spinal cord transmits messages from the brain to the rest of the body, so it is vital to the body’s functioning.

A spinal cord injury involves an injury to this structure, which may include an injury to one or more of the vertebrae, one or more of the discs or to the spinal cord itself. Spinal cord injuries can range from mild to severe, depending on which structure of the spine has been injured and the degree of damage.

Brain injury

Traumatic brain injury (also known as 'acquired brain injury') refers to an impact injury to the brain which can happen in car accidents or pedestrian falls, as well as other incidents such as gunshot injuries to the head.

It happens suddenly and unexpectedly and the forces acting at the time of the impact are violent as the head of the person is thrown around and hit by objects, sometimes causing skull fractures.

These impacts can cause damage to the soft brain tissue inside the skull, even without skull fracture. They can cause bruising and bleeding of the brain inside the skull. This may lead to permanent damage to the brain cells.

Brain injuries leave many survivors alive but permanently impaired.

Lower back injury

Lower back pain is a common symptom of whiplash or may occur as a result of another type of injury arising from a road accident. A lower back injury can sometimes result in sciatica.

What is sciatica?

Sciatica occurs when pressure is put on nerves in the lower back, most commonly the sciatic nerve which runs from the lumbar spine (lower back) down both legs. For example, damage to a disc in the lower spine due to a whiplash injury can cause part of the disc to encroach on and irritate the sciatic nerve.

Symptoms of sciatica include:

  • Pain running from the lower back into one or both legs;
  • Altered sensations, such as pins and needles, a burning sensation or numbness, in the lower back, buttocks, legs or feet;
  • Weakness or reduced power in the leg or foot.

Common causes of motor vehicle accidents

Drink driving

Drink driving happens when someone is in the driver’s seat of a motor vehicle and drives or attempts to drive whilst under the influence of alcohol. Unfortunately, this is the cause of many accidents on our roads each year.

Driver fatigue

Driver fatigue is one of the top killers on Australian roads. Being exhausted at the wheel can be deadly and it’s important to know when you need to stop, revive and survive.

Distracted driving

Being distracted whilst driving can have devastating effects. Whether you're texting while driving, changing the radio station or even having your attention diverted by your passengers, distracted driving can easily result in you running off the road, having a head-on collision or side-swiping another car by moving into their lane.

Hooning and speeding

Dangerous driving such as speeding or hooning is the cause of many car accidents each year. Accidents are caused by the drivers losing control of their vehicle at high speed or whilst recklessly driving.

Your entitlements

If you've suffered an injury due to any type of road or transport accident, you may be entitled to compensation from the Compulsory Third Party (CTP) Insurer in your state, such as:

  • Medical and treatment expenses
  • Past and future care, for you and your family
  • Compensation for being unable to work
  • If your injury is serious and permanent, you may be entitled to injury compensation for pain and suffering and permanent impairment

It is important that you obtain advice from an expert lawyer to ensure that you are aware of all the benefits available to you and maximise how much whiplash compensation you may be entitled to receive.

We can help

At Slater and Gordon, we have over 80 years' experience in fighting, and winning, cases like yours. We’ll ensure your best interests are put first, including assisting with the management of upfront costs. We do this by offering our clients a No Win – No Fee payment arrangement* - so you don’t have to worry about paying our legal fees unless we win your case.

It is our belief that Australians deserve access to affordable expert legal advice and we are committed to finding financial solutions for our clients so justice can be achieved.

By choosing one of our expert road accident lawyers to represent you:

  • You’ll know if your case and entitlements have been correctly assessed

  • You’ll know about the strict time limits that apply to seeking compensation

  • You’ll be able to dispute any unreasonable decision

  • You'll have a dedicated support worker who will guide you through every stage of your case, and is contactable when you need them

  • You’ll know what evidence you need and how we will help you get it

  • You’ll have access to support through our in-house social work service free of charge

  • We’ll obtain the best possible result for you, whatever the challenge or complexity

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Start your online claim check now. Or, if you have a question, get in touch with our Motor Vehicle Accident team