More than 2 million people suffer from whiplash in the United States each year. If you’ve been in an accident and been inflicted with a whiplash injury, you may be wondering if you’re entitled to whiplash injury compensation.
In this article, you’ll learn all about whiplash and whether you may be eligible to make a claim.
What is Whiplash?
If you’ve been in a situation and your head and neck were suddenly thrust backward and forward, you may have whiplash. This movement puts your cervical spine through extreme stresses due to the lightning-quick motions.
This force tears and stretches the tendons and muscles in your neck. Most of the time, you’ll recover within a few months. However, this will depend on your treatments which include exercise and pain medication, along with the severity of your whiplash. Some people experience ongoing complications and chronic neck pain.
Symptoms of whiplash include:
- Pain when moving your head forward and backward or from side to side
- Stiffness or pain when attempting to look over your shoulders
- Headaches at the base of your skull, radiating towards your forehead
- Numbness or tingling in your arms
- Loss of your neck’s range of motion
- Pain or tenderness in your arms, upper back, or shoulder
- Blurred vision
- Sleep disturbances
- Memory problems
- Difficulty concentrating
It’s important that you see a doctor as soon as you experience any whiplash symptoms or neck pain following a sports injury, car accident, or any other traumatic injury. That way, you can get an accurate and prompt diagnosis and rule out any other tissue damage or fractures that could also be contributing to your symptoms.
Do You Have Whiplash?
If you’ve been in an accident, you’ll need to file a police report. You also need to speak with anyone who witnessed the accident and exchange your insurance information with anyone else involved.
With whiplash, it’s not unusual to be pain-free immediately after the accident. Whiplash pain can take a few days to appear, which is why it’s a good idea to wait to settle the accident.
Even if you think you’re OK, be sure to visit the doctor as soon as you can after an accident. Get copies of the doctor’s records and observations, and keep all receipts.
If you’re diagnosed with whiplash, you’ll need to follow your doctor’s orders. Not only will this ensure that you heal as quickly as possible, but it will help when it’s time to claim for whiplash injury compensation.
Now is also the time to consider whether you need a lawyer. If you do use a lawyer, they can ensure that all steps are followed correctly and you receive any compensation you may be entitled to.
Your San Diego Injury Lawyer will also handle any contact necessary between any other parties’ insurers. And if you’re planning to file a personal injury lawsuit against the person responsible for your accident, it’s definitely a good idea to get legal representation.
Getting Whiplash Injury Compensation
Considering your neck is a relatively small body part, whiplash can be a painful and expensive injury. One of the most important aspects of making a claim? Doing it in a timely manner.
While your symptoms may take a little while to show, if the accident did happen months ago and you say you’ve been “living with the pain,” you may find that your insurer argues that the injury isn’t severe. This could mean that they provide you with less compensation or completely deny your claim.
Here are some things to consider when you’re looking for whiplash injury compensation:
If you’re making a claim through your insurance company, the company will use witness testimonies and crash diagrams to determine who is legally liable. If you were hit from behind, it’s likely that the driver who hit you will be found to be at fault. But the issue of legal liability can sometimes be difficult to determine.
Insurance companies will also look at how soon you sought treatment after the accident and to what extent that treatment was provided. If you were just taken to the emergency room immediately after your accident and didn’t have any other treatment.
If, however, you ended up having many physical therapy visits on the advice of a doctor, this will impact how much compensation you receive as it shows your injury needed more intense treatment.
Generally, the more severe your whiplash is, the more likely you are to receive compensation and the higher that compensation is likely to be. It’s important that you document both your whiplash injury and any other injuries you receive.
If your whiplash takes a long time to heal, it will be considered more severe and therefore more likely to receive compensation.
Whiplash can sometimes cause permanent damage. For that reason, even while your insurance company is handling your claim, you may need to look into disability and seek damages from the other party.
When it comes to whiplash injury compensation, insurance companies want to know how your daily life has been impacted by the accident. If you’re going about your normal job and day-to-day activities, you’ll receive less compensation than someone who has had their daily life massively impacted.
When you’re making a whiplash injury compensation claim, you can expect to speak to insurers multiple times. Your medical records will be requested, and if you had a car accident, an adjuster will want to see your car.
It’s important that you document everything if you think you may have whiplash. Keep track of any income you’ve lost, work you’ve missed, and receipts from medical appointments. Write a daily journal tracking drug usage, doctor visits, treatment, and pain.
Seeking whiplash injury compensation can be difficult as whiplash is a soft tissue injury, and unlike a broken bone, can’t be seen on an x-ray. For this reason, it’s worth talking to an experienced attorney. Get in touch today to learn how we can help.