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What is Whiplash?
Whiplash compensation may be available in auto accidents involving whiplash injuries. Whiplash usually occurs when a car is struck from behind in a rear-end accident. The sudden jerking forward and backwards of the head can create severe neck injuries for the passenger in the car being struck from behind. This often occurs at stop signs and intersections, where one car does not stop in time and strikes the car in front of it.
Some rear-end accidents can result in a "chain collision" where each car strikes the one ahead of it in succession. This can happen in situations involving bumper-to-bumper traffic. Whiplash can also occur in side-collisions, head-on collisions, and other types of automobile accidents.
How is Whiplash Compensation Determined?
Whiplash compensation is usually obtained in the form of a damages award paid by the defendant and issued to the plaintiff. Calculating the damages award is no easy task. It is usually determined by examining factors such as:
- The severity of the whiplash injuries
- Whether the plaintiff was partly responsible for their own injuries
- Whether there were any pre-existing injuries involved
- State injury laws (these can be different for each state)
In many cases, the input of an expert medical witness may be needed in order to help determine whiplash compensation amounts. For instance, if the expert finds that the whiplash injuries are not that serious, the damages award may be reduced accordingly. Or, if they determine that the whiplash injuries are particularly severe, the damages may be increased.
The judge may also award compensation for future loss of income or loss of earning capacity if the whiplash injury hinders the person’s ability to generate wages in the future.
What if I Have a Legal Dispute Over the Amount of Compensation?
Disputes over the amount of compensation can sometimes be difficult to handle. As mentioned, it may help to enlist the services of an expert medical witness, who can help determine the extent of the whiplash injury. The assistance of a lawyer is also indispensable, as some states may limit the amount of car accident damages depending on state law.
Remember that damages awards for whiplash need to be in a "reasonable amount", and must be "proportionate to the severity of the injury." It helps to collect documents such as police reports, eyewitness accounts, medical/hospital bills, and insurance documents. These can help build your case during trial and can serve as evidence in your favor.
Do I Need a Lawyer for Help with Whiplash Compensation Disputes?
Whiplash injuries can often be quite severe, and can result in many financial expenses for the injured party. It may be in your best interests to hire a qualified personal injury lawyer in your area. Your attorney can help you during the legal process and can ensure that you are properly represented during court proceedings. Also, your attorney can assist when it comes to the calculation of compensation amounts.
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Last Modified: 07-30-2015 02:55 PM PDT
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