Whiplash is a type of neck injury that often results from car accident cases. It usually results from the neck and head being subjected to sudden movements, stops, or starts. Whiplash injuries most commonly result from rear-end collisions or t-bone type accidents. Whiplash can result in very serious damage to the neck, head, or spine for both passengers and drivers.
What Does Whiplash Treatment Involve?
Whiplash injuries can be severe and cause movement loss in the neck or spine regions. They can also be coupled with temporary or permanent paralysis in some cases. Whiplash treatment often involves:
- Time spent in the hospital recuperating
- Administering of medicines to reduce severe pain
- Wearing a neck brace for several weeks
- Strengthening of the neck muscles (muscular rehab therapy)
In addition, whiplash treatment can sometimes involve psychological aspects, especially if the victim has experienced mental or emotional trauma from the incident.
What Type of Compensation Is Available for Whiplash Treatment Costs?
Financial compensation may be available for treatment costs in many whiplash cases and lawsuits. These costs can include:
- Medical expenses
- Surgery costs
- Rehab/therapy expenses
- Lost wages
- Pain and suffering (in some cases)
- Medicines and pharmaceutical costs
In cases involving intentional conduct or particularly reckless behavior, the defendant may be required to pay punitive damages. Many states limit the amount of damages that the plaintiff can collect for whiplash injuries. Some whiplash cases might involve workers’ compensation claims if the person was driving a company car during work hours.
Does Duration of Pain Impact the Claim Value?
Most whiplash-type injuries go away within a week. Even the most serious cases can see a patient be symptom-free within three months.
If you’ve been experiencing lingering symptoms of a neck injury, such as stiffness, pain, limited mobility, tingling, numbness, and other signs that something isn’t right, you may have more than a standard whiplash injury. Long-lasting symptoms could indicate that you have suffered damage to your cervical spine (the uppermost C1 to C7 vertebrae), including injury to the intervertebral joints or discs. Long-lasting symptoms could also mean that you have damaged your cervical muscles or ligaments or injured the nerve roots in your neck.
Lingering symptoms of neck injury should not be ignored or dismissed. Get medical treatment if your symptoms aren’t going away.
Seeking medical treatment is important for your health and well-being, but it’s also important if you’re involved in an injury-related insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit. It’s critical to have documented medical evidence like treatment records and doctor’s bills for every injury you claim to get a satisfactory resolution to your case.
When Should I Seek Medical Treatment?
If you’ve been in a car accident, it’s important to seek medical treatment immediately if you feel pain or discomfort. Many soft tissue injuries—including cervical strains and other whiplash-type injuries—do not become immediately symptomatic after an accident.
Physicians will look for signs of whiplash that may otherwise go unnoticed after being presented with the facts surrounding the accident. If you file a personal injury claim over the accident, it is important to back up your injuries with medical records. Insurance adjusters look at whiplash-type injury cases with suspicion. Seek medical attention as soon as possible after a whiplash injury.
What Is the Process of Claiming a Whiplash Injury?
A personal injury attorney can accurately advise victims on the best way to pursue legal claims related to whiplash injuries. Filing a suit against negligent and potentially liable parties may ultimately lead to a settlement offer. In many cases, victims must first recognize and document their damages before notifying any party of their intent to sue. A plaintiff should evaluate their claim from a legal standpoint, asking whether a given claim is viable or not.
How Can I Start the Claim Process Quickly?
Do not delay starting your personal injury claim process if you have a medically-documented whiplash injury. Notify your insurance carrier if your injuries stem from a car accident and live in a no-fault car insurance state. If you live in a state that allows liability claims for personal injuries after a car accident, notify the at-fault driver’s insurance company in writing of your injuries and your intent to file an insurance claim or lawsuit. Your injuries may worsen.
The sooner you notify a potential party of your claim, the more serious the consideration you’ll receive. Remember that starting the claims process does not mean a settlement quickly. Understand the nature and extent of your injuries and all other damages arising from the accident. Learn more about the personal injury settlement process on LegalMatch.
How Can I Document My Losses and Expenses?
If you are filing a claim with an insurance carrier, document all of the expenses you incur relating to your injuries, your medical treatment, and other losses. These losses include economic damages such as lost wages, medical bills, prescription costs, and insurance co-pays.
Miles driven to and from doctor’s appointments also count as economic damages. Any out-of-pocket expenditure could potentially be a reimbursable cost. Insurance adjusters need proof of loss for every dollar they pay out. You need the appropriate documentation for any and all expenses.
How Much Can I Expect to Receive for a Whiplash Injury?
Settlement values and trial verdicts for whiplash injuries vary greatly. Most mild to moderate whiplash cases are valued at between $2,500 and $10,000. More serious cases involving treatment or physical therapy over several months may cost the defendant upwards of $30,000. Neck injuries beyond soft tissue damages that affect nerves or vertebrae can easily end with settlements or verdicts exceeding $100,000.
When Do I Need to File a Lawsuit?
There is no guarantee that an insurance adjuster will pay out on your claim or that the person who caused the accident will have insurance. You may have to file a personal injury lawsuit to collect your losses.
Pursuing a lawsuit for a whiplash injury can be difficult in no-fault states due to threshold injury and damage requirements. In states not governed by no-fault law, you may be able to file a lawsuit as a matter of right. If your case goes to court, you may be able to recover non-economic damages such as pain and suffering in addition to your economic damages. A personal injury attorney can advise you on the laws of your state and the potential outcome of your claim.
Whiplash-type injuries are often blown off as fake, but they are serious soft tissue injuries. A sudden, violent extension and retraction of your neck can cause serious physical problems and can impair your ability to function daily. Following the steps in this article should increase your chances of getting a fair personal injury settlement.
Do I Need a Lawyer for Help with Whiplash Treatment Lawsuits?
Whiplash cases can often involve complex legal theories and advanced analysis of evidence. You may need to hire a personal injury lawyer for help with your whiplash claim. A qualified personal injury lawyer can help you if you need to file a lawsuit or if you need to appear in court. State personal injury laws can vary, but your lawyer will be able to provide you with advice and guidance for your case.