A car accident can happen suddenly. Being the victim of a whiplash injury due to that accident can be frightening. However, you’re not alone – it is one of the most common injuries sustained in car accidents. A negligent driver can change your life in the blink of an eye by slamming into the back of your car in a rear end accident. In this type of car accident, a very common neck injury called whiplash can occur. Although some whiplash neck injuries don’t require a long period of recuperation, others have far-reaching repercussions.
While every car accident inducing whiplash is different, key factors play a part in determining the settlement amount a driver will receive after such an accident.
In general, drivers suffering from whiplash injuries could be compensated for:
- Physical injuries
- Damage to the vehicle
- Lost wages
- Medical expenses
However, getting the settlement you deserve requires diligent recordkeeping and many times, the legal advice of a car accident attorney familiar with the long-term effects of whiplash. It’s very important to seek legal advice as soon as possible, especially if your injuries were severe, as it gets harder to fight for financial compensation the longer you wait.
Calculating the average whiplash settlement takes many factors into account, and it can be a long process before you get the financial compensation you deserve. Usually, whiplash settlements take the following into account:
Medical bills after the accident. You might have been taken to the emergency room to have image diagnostics and other medical treatment for pain after your whiplash car accident. It’s extremely important to hold on to all medical treatment records for your whiplash settlement.
Ongoing medical treatment, such as physical therapy or chiropractic treatment. You may also continue to take prescription medication for your injuries.
Loss of income, especially if you had to take off work to go to ongoing medical treatment appointments.
Pain and suffering from your injuries.
Property damage to your car and other belonging as a result of the car accident. Photos should be taken at the scene, and a police report should be provided to your auto insurance provider.
To better understand whether you are a candidate for a settlement due to your whiplash injury, it helps to first understand what a whiplash injury is, and how it is diagnosed.
What is a Whiplash Injury?
Whiplash isn’t just a pain in the neck. Also called a neck sprain and/or strain, whiplash occurs when the neck ligaments are stretched, causing a pulled, stiff, painful sensation. Both a neck sprain or strain can be the result of a whiplash car accident. It happens due to the sudden, powerful force of another car hitting your car from the back, causing the neck to stretch from an even somewhat minor collision.
Symptoms of whiplash include:
- Pain in the neck, shoulders, and upper back
- Limited range of movement of the head and neck
- Swelling in the neck or upper shoulders
- Muscle spasms in the affected areas
The severity of a whiplash injury depends on multiple factors, including the speed the other car was traveling at the time of impact. Certain drivers may have other injuries in addition to whiplash, such as spinal cord injuries. The extent of the whiplash injury is also a huge component in determining fault.
Proving Fault in a Whiplash Car Accident
Almost always, the driver who rear-ends the car in front of them is considered at fault for the accident. California is an at-fault state for auto insurance, so the person who caused the rear-end collision is likely to be found at-fault, automatically. The at-fault driver will be legally liable for the other driver’s injuries and related losses after suffering from whiplash.
Because California law states that victims of car accidents are entitled to compensation for injuries resulting from the negligence of another driver, you shouldn’t settle for a low offer. Get the help of a skilled car accident attorney to help you present the best case possible and the compensation you deserve.
What Should My Settlement Be Worth?
It’s not easy to put a dollar amount on any given case without carefully reviewing all the evidence at hand. This is why it’s important to have an experienced car accident lawyer review your case. They’ll guide you through the litigation process and get you fair and just financial compensation. In general terms, however, the greater the injuries, the higher the compensation. For example, if you have other injuries in addition to whiplash, such as nerve damage, you can easily get a higher settlement.
Proving pain and suffering goes a long way towards affecting how much money you will be awarded. For instance, most people who have whiplash injuries find they go away within a week,
Economic damages after a car accident (medical bills and lost earnings) are taken into account, and if the case goes to trial, it’s important to take the following into account:
- The credibility of the plaintiff
- Whether the jury can understand the plaintiff’s injuries
- The extent of medical treatment needed by the plaintiff
What to Do If You’ve Gotten a Lowball Whiplash Settlement Offer
If you’ve had a whiplash injury after a car accident and the auto insurance company is making you a lowball offer, make sure to get in touch with a car accident attorney in Los Angeles in order to get your due compensation. Get in touch with Wilshire Law Firm today to learn more.