Whiplash pain and suffering refers to a type of damages award that is issued for automobile accident lawsuits involving whiplash injuries. Pain and suffering awards are intended to compensate the injured party for the hardships associated with the accident injury.
Whiplash can occur when a car is struck from behind or from the side, causing the victim’s head to "whip" forward and then backward, or in a side-to-side motion. This can cause severe neck injury, especially if the victim’s car was completely stopped when hit by a moving vehicle.
Are There Any Special Considerations Related to Whiplash Pain and Suffering?
Yes. There are a few things to consider with regards to whiplash injuries. First, unlike a broken bone or joint injury, whiplash pain is often undetectable by an x-ray or other imaging device. The pain is typically due to damage to the neck nerves and spinal nerves, which can be difficult to display through a machine. Thus, the pain and suffering is usually proven by a lack of movement or restriction of full motion of the head and neck area.
Also, whiplash pain and suffering can sometimes emerge much later after the accident, sometimes days later or even longer than that. This is significant because the longer the time is between the accident and the recognition of the pain, the more difficult it becomes for the plaintiff to prove that the pain was actually caused by the accident. The plaintiff also might encounter issues with the statute of limitations (i.e., the window of time in which the person is allowed to file a lawsuit).
Lastly, the plaintiff needs to be able to prove that the pain and suffering is real and not imaginary or over-exaggerated. The term "pain and suffering" is in itself difficult to define, and the court will go through several steps to ensure that the plaintiff’s pain and suffering is enough to require a damages award.
What is a Pre-Existing Injury?
Whiplash injuries can sometimes be made more complicated if there is a pre-existing injury involved. A pre-existing injury or pre-existing condition is any medical condition that existed before the time of the accident. For instance, if the injured party already had a prior neck injury, this can be considered a pre-existing injury. Then, if the neck was re-injured due to whiplash, it can change the way that the courts view the injury.
For instance, if the whiplash simply aggravated an existing condition, the plaintiff might not be able to recover the full amount of damages that are typically awarded for whiplash. On the other hand, if the whiplash created an entirely new neck injury, then they might be able to collect the full amount. As might be able to guess, this can be very complicated to deal with when proving the injury, and may require the assistance of an expert medical witness.
Should I Hire a Lawyer for Help with Whiplash Pain and Suffering?
Whiplash pain and suffering is a difficult concept to prove, and may require the assistance of a qualified personal injury lawyer. You may wish to hire an attorney in your area if you need help with a whiplash lawsuit, or with any other types of legal matters. Your attorney can provide you with the type of legal representation and legal advice that is necessary to succeed on your claim.