Everything You Need to Know About Whiplash in Car Accident Claims
Posted on November 3, 2022
Whiplash is a neck injury that can be caused by a quick and forceful back-and-forth movement of the neck. The action is generally fast, like a whip, and is one of the most common types of car accident injuries due to the impact of a collision. Whiplash can be an invisible injury, but this does not mean it cannot be severe. In fact, the aftereffects can linger for months or years, often causing chronic pain. Mild cases can also result in discomfort and impact your daily life or make it difficult to work and earn a living.
That being said, if you, a friend, or a family member were involved in a personal injury accident and are now suffering from whiplash, you may be entitled to seek compensation from the at-fault party.
Quick Statistics about Whiplash
According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), about 3 million people in the United States sustain whiplash injuries every year. Of these, more than 1.5 million suffer chronic pain, and about 300,000 Americans become disabled due to the pain.
Separately, most whiplash injuries occur at collision speeds below 12 miles per hour, and there is no correlation between the extent of the injuries and vehicle damage. A pre-existing health condition, such as arthritis, may lead to more significant pain and injury severity. On average, it takes about 17 weeks to stabilize your neck after suffering a severe whiplash injury, and in 75% of injured victims, symptoms can last six months or longer.
After a whiplash injury, the average time away from work was 39 days or almost eight work weeks, and out of 580 employed victims, 7% did not return to work. In addition to injuring the neck, tendons, and muscles, severe cases of whiplash can also involve torn discs, ruptured ligaments, and vertebrae fractures resulting in permanent nerve damage.
The Most Common Causes of Whiplash Injuries
Whiplash is a common soft tissue injury often resulting from rear-end car accidents. However, rear-end collisions are not the only cause of whiplash, as it can also be caused by the following:
- Slip and fall accidents
- Bus accidents
- Truck accidents
- Bicycle accidents
- Construction zone accidents
- Roller coasters or other amusement park rides
Regardless of the cause of your personal injury case, seeking legal help from a personal injury lawyer is vital. The skilled and dedicated personal injury lawyers at the King Law Firm will help you build your whiplash injury claim and negotiate with insurance companies to maximize the financial compensation.
Our law firm works with whiplash victims in Ventura County to support their whiplash injury claims and seek fair compensation for lost wages, medical bills, and pain and suffering. Call our personal injury attorneys if you have suffered whiplash due to someone else’s negligence, and allow us to fight for your rights.
Signs and Symptoms of Whiplash Injuries
How you feel after sustaining a whiplash injury depends on the type of tissues affected and the severity of your injury. Whiplash symptoms are highly variable and may appear immediately after the accident or develop over the following days or weeks. Even whiplash symptoms that take time to appear or seem relatively minor could prove to be debilitating and have long-term consequences.
If you are injured in a motor vehicle accident and present any of the following symptoms, seek medical attention immediately. Whiplash symptoms may include:
- Muscle spasms
- Neck pain and stiffness
- Headaches (at the back of your skull, but often radiating forward)
- Blurred vision
- Tenderness in the shoulders, neck, upper back, or arms
- Range of motion loss in the neck
- Arm numbness or tingling
- Difficulty concentrating
- Depression or anxiety
- Memory issues
Your medical healthcare providers may diagnose whiplash based on a physical exam, in addition to x-ray, CT scans, or MRI. Other neck and head injuries, such as traumatic brain injuries (TBI) or concussions, could have symptoms that mimic whiplash and result from the same types of accidents. So seeking medical help immediately after an accident means you can start to plan your recovery. While you recover, our legal team will seek compensation for your personal injury claim.
4 Steps to Building Your Whiplash Claim After a Car Accident
If your whiplash injuries resulted from a car accident caused by another driver’s reckless behavior, you might be entitled to receive financial compensation through an insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit. However, if you want to increase the chances of obtaining compensation, it is best to consider the following steps:
#1. Seek Medical Help Immediately
The faster you receive medical attention from a qualified medical provider, the quicker your whiplash injuries can be treated. Immediate medical treatment can prevent your injuries from worsening and hopefully expedite your recovery.
On the other hand, seeking immediate medical help is also vital to the success of your whiplash claims. Medical records prevent the at-fault’s insurance company or juries from suspecting your claims are not legitimate or that a pre-existing condition caused your injuries. After your doctor prescribes the treatment plan, be sure to follow the medical treatment precisely. Prematurely discontinuing treatment may reduce your chances of recovering financial compensation or affect the amount you receive.
#2. Gather Evidence
You must gather as much evidence as possible to receive financial compensation through a whiplash injury claim. Take as many videos or photos as you can, including the accident scene, the motor vehicle’s condition, road signs, and your injuries. Collect the other driver’s contact information, license number, vehicle registration number, insurance company name, and policy. If there were eyewitnesses, collect their contact information too.
Obtain test results demonstrating your injuries and recovery progress. Then, request a police report copy and medical records following the car accident. You may also need medical records before the accident to rule out preexisting conditions that could be blamed for your whiplash injury.
Documentation of expenses is also vital. This includes medical bills and the time you missed from work or were unable to perform your duties. Having complete documentation of your bills and payments will improve the likelihood that you will be compensated justly.
#3. File an Insurance Claim
After you are involved in an accident, file a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company as soon as possible. When you are filing the claim, give the insurer only facts, do not give opinions or speculate. Provide the time, date, and place of the auto accident and inform the insurers you are receiving medical treatment. However, do not give any information related to the severity of your injuries or the pain you are suffering. Failing to do so could unintentionally hurt your chances of getting compensation.
Never admit any fault in car accidents, and do not undergo an independent medical exam. Remember that the doctor works for an insurance adjuster and is looking out for the company’s best interests, which is paying you less or nothing for your injuries. The insurers may convince you to see their physician, but you are not required to do so.
#4. Contact a Personal Injury Attorney
As with most personal injury claims, proving your case can be challenging. However, working with our compassionate and dedicated personal injury attorneys can significantly improve your chances of receiving fair compensation. The King Law Firm not only understands California’s personal injury system and the laws governing these accidents but can fight against the insurance companies and help you recover a monetary amount for your damages.
Our injury lawyers work aggressively to understand the full impact of your emotional, physical, and financial well-being and fight hard to ensure you are compensated accordingly.
How Much is a Ventura County Whiplash Injury Worth?
Any time you face a serious personal injury, whether a slip and fall or a car accident, the first thing you must do for your recovery and for the worth of your lawsuit is to visit a doctor. Generally speaking, a whiplash injury is worth somewhere between $7,000 to $20,000, but you must prove it. If your injury goes beyond soft tissue damage and is more severe and lasting, you may be able to recover as much as $100,000 for whiplash alone.
As mentioned before, whiplash and other injuries can vary significantly in severity. Understanding certain variables can determine how much your whiplash claim is worth is vital. A few common factors that can affect your settlement award include:
Did your pain last for a couple of weeks? Are you feeling better, or are you still in tremendous suffering without an end date? The general rule is that the more severe the injury, the more amount it is worth.
The type of medical care and treatment you receive will also impact your compensation based on the recovery duration. It is critical to continue to receive treatment for as long as your medical provider recommends. Otherwise, insurance companies could attempt to exploit loopholes for an unfair and smaller settlement. Moreover, refusing or stopping medical treatment too early may severely weaken your lawsuit.
Impairment Compared to Whiplash Injury
The number of vehicle repairs and medical expenses, as well as impaired quality of life and loss of wages, will also add value to your personal injury lawsuit. If your whiplash injuries impair your ability to function normally or work, the chances of a higher compensation increase.
Sometimes injuries could be minor, yet diagnostic testing and emergency transportation efficiently run your bill into the thousands. If you received medical treatment you must continue for months or even years, get help from a lawyer to fight for your rights.
Insurance companies do not write checks for whiplash injuries easily, which is why working with a personal injury attorney helps maximize your compensation following a car, motorcycle, truck, or slip-and-fall accident. The team at the King Law Firm may determine the worth of your whiplash injury is only a small part of your larger potential recovery when filing an injury lawsuit.
Why Should You Contact the King Law Firm?
If you deal with whiplash following an accident due to someone else’s negligence and are wondering how best to handle the situation, it is in your interest to contact our personal injury attorneys at the King Law Firm.
We understand that the time following your accident is confusing, but having the correct legal team by your side can offer you the peace of mind you need. Here at the King Law Firm, we know time is of the essence regarding whiplash cases, so we help you establish a solid case for the best outcome. We start by analyzing the police and medical reports, consulting with medical professionals and relevant experts, gathering witness statements, and collecting evidence.
Under California’s statutes of limitations, you have two years to file your personal injury claim from the date of your accident. Failing to file your whiplash claim on time may result in losing the right to seek and receive compensation. For that reason, it is best to consult with our personal injury lawyers to advocate for your best interest. Please remember that the sooner you contact us to start your claim, the better.
Speaking to a Ventura County whiplash injury lawyer is the best option to get a case evaluation and determine the compensation you are entitled to for your accident. At the King Law Firm, we offer a free consultation to cover all questions and concerns you may have.
Listed below are some conditions that could entitle you to financial compensation for your personal injury accident:
- Medical bills
- Diminished quality of life
- Wage Loss
- Property damage
- Pain and Suffering
- Impaired motor skills
- Emotional trauma
Contact a personal injury lawyer in Ventura County to identify your compensation eligibility. Contact us today without hesitation to schedule your free case evaluation! The King Law Firm is here to listen to your concerns and lead you to the fair settlement you deserve.