Whiplash is a general term for soft tissue injuries on the neck and back resulting from a sudden jolting movement in a car accident. If you're involved in a car accident and you sustain whiplash injuries, you should hire a personal injury attorney to help you claim compensation. Here are some frequently asked questions about whiplash personal injury claims.
How Do I Know I Have Whiplash Injuries?
After you're involved in an accident, it's advisable to seek medical treatment even if you feel okay. This will help identify any injuries caused by the accident. Furthermore, if you fail to seek immediate medical attention, the defendant can claim that your injuries weren't directly caused by the accident.
During a medical exam, your doctor will have to run tests to determine the range and degree of motion in your neck and shoulders. The doctor will also check the strength and reflexes in your limbs. Some symptoms of whiplash include:
- Neck stiffness
- A decreased range of motion
- Shoulder, arm, or back pain
- Unusual sensations
It may take a while before the symptoms of whiplash kick in.
How Do I Make A Personal Injury Claim?
Like in other personal injury claims, you need to gather evidence to prove the negligence of the defendant. This means you need to prove that the driver owed you a duty of care and their recklessness caused the accident. Furthermore, you need to prove that your injuries were a result of the accident.
In a no-fault car insurance state, your personal injury lawyer will approach your insurance carrier. In other states, you'll have to deal with the at-fault driver's insurance company. Whichever the case, your attorney will know the appropriate procedures based on the laws of your state.
If you notify the defendant or insurance carrier that you want to pursue an injury claim, they may give you a settlement and your case will not go to trial. However, if you cannot agree on a settlement, your case will go through a discovery stage before going to trial, where the judge or jury will decide what damage award is fair.
How Much Compensation Will I Get?
The amount of compensation that is typical for a whiplash settlement varies depending on the severity of your injuries. For example, serious cases where the injured party has to go to physical therapy for several months will result in a higher damage award than mild injuries.
The value of your case will depend on your economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages are tangible and include medical costs and lost income. Non-economic damages are difficult to quantify and include pain and suffering. Therefore, the amount of the damages you're likely to get will be a total of the economic and non-economic damages.
To learn more, contact a personal injury attorney.