While whiplash often occurs due to a car accident, it happens in many scenarios, including any accident where your head moves back and forth abruptly. This whip-like snapping of the neck gives whiplash its name.
Whiplash symptoms interfere substantially with your daily life, especially if you have lingering chronic whiplash symptoms. You may deserve compensation in the form of a personal injury claim. If you suffered whiplash in a car accident, working with a car accident attorney can help you learn more about your potential compensation.
Whiplash: Signs and Symptoms
The symptoms of whiplash may cause considerable neck pain, including radiating pain down the arms.
It can also cause:
- Neck stiffness
- Dizziness or feelings of vertigo
- Shoulder and back pain
- Numbness or tingling in the arms and hands
In some cases, whiplash can also cause cognitive symptoms, including memory loss or other impairment in cognitive function. Dealing with the aftereffects of whiplash can mean many challenges.
Some patients notice increasing pain as they move their arms, necks, or shoulders, making it difficult to take care of their usual work tasks. In addition, patients with whiplash may struggle with sitting behind a desk, or they may find it difficult to care for children and other loved ones in the home. Furthermore, whiplash can make it difficult for many people to engage in their preferred hobbies.
What Is the Minimum Compensation for Whiplash?
The law does not offer a strict minimum compensation for whiplash. Most insurance companies do not have a clear breakdown of expected compensation if you suffer whiplash in an accident. In some cases, you may not receive compensation from the insurance company for minor whiplash. Compensation amounts vary based on several key factors:
1. What medical treatment did you need for whiplash?
Whiplash may require relatively minimal treatment and resolve with rest for some patients. For others, whiplash is a long road to recovery with considerable medical treatment, especially in the case of severe or chronic whiplash. If you need significant medical treatment, you may expect higher compensation levels than someone who does not need medical help with their whiplash recovery.
2. How much work did you have to miss?
Missing work poses a substantial financial burden for many whiplash victims. The more time you miss, the less income you see during your recovery. If you miss considerable work because of whiplash injuries, you may deserve more compensation than someone who could return to work shortly after their accident.
3. How long do whiplash symptoms linger?
For some patients, whiplash symptoms resolve within a matter of days. Others note that they need around six to eight weeks to recover from their injuries. However, some patients find that their whiplash symptoms linger even longer after the initial accident. If you have lingering whiplash symptoms, you may miss more time at work and suffer greater overall pain or limitations.
4. How does your whiplash impact your everyday life, including your activities, time with friends and loved ones, or your ability to work?
Most whiplash claims include compensation for your suffering while recovering from your injuries. If you have a long road to recovery, dealing with many limitations during the process, you may have a right to recover more compensation than someone with fewer effects.
How Much Compensation Should You Expect for Whiplash?
Compensation for any injury depends on the specific factors relating to your injury. Each claim may look different based on who caused your injuries, how long they lingered, and what challenges they caused you. By working with a lawyer, you can more effectively break down the actual financial losses you sustained in the accident, making it easier for you to determine how much compensation to expect.
Compensation for Medical Bills
Treatment for whiplash can prove very expensive.
You may have:
- Scans to diagnose whiplash or to rule out more severe injuries
- Pain medications to help manage your symptoms
- Muscle relaxants
- A cervical collar to prevent potentially painful movements
- Physical therapy
In some cases, physical therapy for your whiplash injuries is lengthy, especially if you have chronic or ongoing pain.
Can I seek compensation for chiropractic treatment for whiplash?
Some patients with whiplash, especially those with chronic pain after their accident, may pursue chiropractic care to treat their whiplash or reduce pain symptoms. You can claim compensation for chiropractic care to treat whiplash pain, just like you can for other medical expenses. You may need to show medical documentation regarding your whiplash injuries to explain the need for chiropractic treatment.
Compensation for Lost Wages
Losing income during your whiplash recovery causes many financial challenges. Income loss can leave you without the money you need to handle your regular bills, much less the additional bills that often accompany a severe injury.
Talk to your lawyer about missing work due to your whiplash injuries.
Makes sure you discuss:
- The time you missed work immediately after your accident
- The time you missed work because you could not return to work full-time
- Any time you missed work because of follow-up visits with your doctor or therapy sessions during the workday
- Vacation time used to cover your time out of work because of whiplash injuries
You can include compensation for these lost wages in your whiplash claim.
General Damages/Compensation for Pain and Suffering
Not only does whiplash cause immense physical pain, but it may also leave you struggling emotionally. Some people notice cognitive effects, including depression, from whiplash. Others find that the limitations caused by their pain create emotional suffering: the loss of activities you usually enjoy, time with friends and loved ones, or even the ability to care for yourself while you recover. As part of your whiplash claim, you can include compensation for your suffering following your accident.
How Can I Maximize the Compensation I Recover for Whiplash?
When you suffer any injury in an accident, including whiplash, you want to maximize your recovery compensation. Severe injuries can leave you with substantial financial limitations. You may undergo immense suffering as you recover from your injuries, and you deserve compensation for your losses.
As the victim of an accident that led to whiplash, you can maximize the compensation you recover for your injuries.
Get Medical Care for Your Whiplash
In many cases, accident victims with whiplash do not initially realize that they have sustained this injury. Whiplash symptoms do not always set in immediately, and you may not notice them until several days after the accident.
Seek medical treatment immediately after your accident. An immediate medical evaluation makes it easier to establish when your injuries, including whiplash, occurred. Many patients do not take this step because they think they did not suffer severe enough injuries to require immediate medical treatment, only to discover later that they have severe whiplash with ongoing pain or limitations.
If you do not seek medical care immediately following your accident, see a doctor at the onset of your whiplash symptoms. A doctor can document your symptoms, making it easier to establish when your injuries occurred and give you more information about how to care for your injury.
Follow Your Medical Care Provider’s Instructions
After seeing a doctor for whiplash symptoms, you may receive specific instructions to maximize your recovery. Your doctor may direct you to avoid certain activities or rest as much as possible while you heal from your injuries. Your doctor may also recommend treatment, including rest, physical therapy, or medications to help with pain management. If you ignore your doctor’s instructions, it may jeopardize your recovery and your injury claim.
If insurance companies see you have not fully complied with a medical care provider's instructions, they may say you worsened your injuries, either deliberately or due to your negligence. As a result, the insurance company may claim that you do not deserve full compensation for your injuries or that you should have recovered sooner. The insurance company may further argue that it does not owe you compensation for any additional time spent in recovery.
Talk to a Lawyer About Your Right to Compensation After a Whiplash Injury
If you suffered whiplash in an accident, having a lawyer on your side can prove beneficial. Insurance companies can make injury claims, particularly those involving injuries like whiplash, more difficult than anticipated. They may, for example, try to claim that you do not need compensation for whiplash or even that you did not suffer whiplash at all. The insurance company may argue that you do not suffer the limitations you claim from whiplash or that your whiplash resolved earlier than you claim.
Working with a lawyer can establish the limitations you face after your accident, including the challenges documented by your medical care providers. A lawyer can also help ensure that you understand the compensation you deserve, which may help you more effectively negotiate your injury settlement.
Finally, a lawyer can offer valuable insights into the management of your claim. For example, your lawyer can help you avoid making statements about your health or recovery to the insurance adjuster, which the company could later use against you.
A personal injury lawyer can also help you determine how to handle your social media use and posts as you manage the aftermath of your accident. Social media posts, including those about your recovery from an accident or about activities you engaged in during your recovery, can work against you during your whiplash claim. A lawyer can help you navigate these potential challenges more effectively.
Contact a Personal Injury Lawyer to Learn More About the Compensation You Deserve for Whiplash
Each personal injury claim has unique elements and challenges. You may need a lawyer to navigate these challenges and learn more about your rights, including what a reasonable settlement offer for whiplash injuries from an accident might look like. Contact an attorney to discuss your injuries, the cause of your accident, and your potential right to compensation for whiplash.