What Is the Minimum Compensation for Whiplash?
If you have been diagnosed with whiplash after a motor vehicle accident, it’s common to want to know the minimum compensation for this type of injury. Unfortunately, there’s no blanket answer to this question as there is no set standard or minimum compensation for whiplash.
Instead, compensation amounts vary based on several issues that can affect how much your claim might be worth after suffering from whiplash in an accident.
Many whiplash claims bring substantial compensation. The best way to determine what your claim might be worth is to discuss the details of your accident and injury with a knowledgeable personal injury lawyer.
The compensation amount you are entitled to receive depends on:
- The total cost of your medical bills and expenses
- Other expenses or financial losses you incurred due to the accident (special or economic damages)
- Other painful or challenging impacts on your life arising from the whiplash accident (general or non-economic damages)
- The type of accident you were in and who was responsible for it
- The insurance coverage through the at-fault party or yourself
Suppose you’ve suffered whiplash in an accident that wasn’t your fault. In that case, you deserve financial recovery for the expenses and pain you must deal with as a result. You must contact an experienced personal injury lawyer after being involved in an accident as soon as possible. Doing so helps ensure that you receive the compensation you are entitled to.
Whiplash can have several symptoms that vary depending on the type of accident, the severity of the injury, and from one individual to the next.
The most common whiplash symptoms include:
- Neck pain or stiffness
- Numbness in the arms or hands
- Shoulder pain
- Back pain
- Problems focusing
- Memory problems
Those with whiplash generally begin to experience these symptoms shortly after the accident. Still, some symptoms may not arise until a few days after the accident. Unfortunately, most internal damage related to whiplash doesn’t always show up on X-rays, making this condition more difficult to diagnose. Instead, CT scans and MRIs are frequently required to identify the tissue damage that might impact the discs and ligaments of the neck or upper back.
Some individuals might experience more severe symptoms from whiplash, such as blurred vision, ringing in the ears (tinnitus), irritability, emotional instability, anxiety, and depression. Sometimes even the larynx or jaw suffers an injury or impact by the whiplash, which can cause difficulty yawning, chewing, and swallowing.
Whiplash often resolves on its own within a few weeks or months, but in the meantime, it can cause severe discomfort. The discomfort might last for years or cause further complications for some accident victims. If you felt sudden and severe whiplash pain after your accident, the greater the chances that your symptoms will persist chronically.
You may be more likely to suffer chronic whiplash pain if you:
- Previously had whiplash
- Already had neck or back injury or pain before the whiplash injury
- Were involved in a high-speed car accident
- Have pain throughout your arms
- Suffer severe neck pain
- Have a limited range of motion
- Are older
It’s crucial to note that even if whiplash doesn’t seem severe initially, it can result in more serious complications. In addition, a whiplash accident may make you more susceptible to another whiplash injury. Whiplash can make work more difficult. It doesn’t matter if you are an active worker who needs full mobility of your neck, back, and arms or if you have an office job and are seated at a computer in the same posture most of the day.
If you are in an accident, seek medical treatment and the advice of a competent lawyer as soon as possible. Accident injuries are serious don’t hesitate to get the medical diagnosis/treatment and justice you deserve.
What Causes Whiplash?
Whiplash is a neck injury involving the neck’s soft tissues, including the muscles, ligaments, and tendons. Although it is typically the result of a motor vehicle accident, it can also happen in other types of accidents such as a slip and fall accident or even contact sports like football. Whiplash can occur in any car accident but rear-end collisions are the most common causes of this condition.
The sudden and quick back and forth movement of the head and neck causes whiplash. In a car accident, whiplash results from the force of another vehicle hitting yours, which suddenly puts your neck in motion. The soft tissues in the neck and upper back don’t expect to experience such severe force as they can in the car or other extreme accidents.
Since the neck and head aren’t secured in place by a seat belt like the torso should be, the neck is likely to jerk forward at impact and then jerk back once it can no longer extend forward. In most car accidents, this severe, unexpected neck movement almost always results in at least a minor injury. Every year, millions of whiplash accidents occur in the United States.
Whiplash isn’t always a serious injury. However, treatment for whiplash and related injuries can still be expensive. Don’t shoulder the inconvenience and burden of injury-related expenses after an accident that wasn’t your fault. Be sure to seek medical treatment as soon as possible after the accident to help prevent any severe side effects from neglecting treatment. You should also contact a seasoned car accident attorney who can help you obtain compensation for your expenses.
Calculating Compensation for Whiplash Injuries
Insurance companies don’t rely on predetermined amounts they offer for specific injuries. Instead, they base their calculations on the losses you specifically sustained as a result of the accident and the compensation you need to pay the bills you may have incurred because of your losses.
Remember that insurance companies often don’t necessarily compensate victims for what they should reasonably receive for whiplash and other accident injuries. Even after submitting a clear account of their losses and challenges because they are dealing with those injuries, they often don’t receive a full and fair settlement offer. Insurance companies are in business to make money if they pay all claimants fully and fairly for their injuries, it goes against their financial interests.
The good news is that working with a seasoned personal injury attorney can make it easier for you to prove the economic and non-economic losses you suffered due to whiplash and hold the insurance company responsible for paying you fairly for them.
Compensation for Medical Expenses
Compensation for medical expenses is one of the most crucial pieces of your whiplash claim. Whiplash, especially the chronic type, can incur extensive medical bills, making it difficult for the victim to pay out of their own pocket.
For example, maybe you went to the emergency room immediately following the accident, incurring ambulance transport costs and the bills from emergency room treatment and care. You may also be responsible for bills for emergency room diagnostic tests, such as X-rays necessary to diagnose severe neck injuries.
Most accident victims with whiplash will receive a prescription for medication to help manage their pain during recovery. Sometimes, doctors recommend a neck brace to help immobilize the head and neck, speed up healing time, and decrease pain.
Suppose you continue experiencing whiplash symptoms after several weeks. In that case, your doctor might recommend that you go through additional diagnostic tests and treatments to determine whether you suffered additional injuries that the medical staff didn’t diagnose initially.
Your physician may prescribe physical therapy to help stretch the neck’s soft tissues, relieve pain, and increase strength. You might want to see a chiropractor manage whiplash pain and other related symptoms.
Injured individuals with chronic whiplash symptoms following an accident may need continued treatment. A whiplash injury claim should cover compensation for all the medical costs you incurred following your accident and expenses you expect to face in the future. Your attorney can help ensure that these future costs get included in your claim.
Compensation for Lost Wages and Income
Whiplash injuries might keep you from returning to work after the incident and for quite a while after. If you experience severe pain or discomfort while attempting your work duties, you may have to take some extended time away from work while you recover. How much work time you miss often depends on the severity of the whiplash injury and the duties you must perform as part of your regular job.
For instance, someone who does a lot of heavy lifting or is on their feet for most of the day will likely have a much more difficult time getting back to work than an employee who sits at a desk for most of their workday. Even still, some individuals’ time at a desk might exacerbate their whiplash symptoms. They may also have to be careful to judge the hours they can spend at work during their recovery.
Even though you can complete some of your job duties without difficulty, you may not be ready to return to work full-time. For example, people with severe whiplash injuries frequently find that they can handle a few hours at work but not an entire day.
This endurance level is especially true if less common symptoms of whiplash, such as cognitive difficulties, arise during their recovery period. You might also miss work hours each time you return to the doctor for follow-up appointments or receive physical therapy.
This missed time at work can add up to many missed wages, leaving you with decreased income and continued financial challenges in addition to severe injuries. When you file your whiplash injury claim, include the value of your lost wages.
Your claim for lost wages and income should also include:
- Lost overtime opportunities
- Earned vacation or sick time hours
- Sick time hours used
- Gym memberships
- Company vehicle usage
Compensation for Your Pain and Suffering
Sadly, finances sometimes aren’t the most significant losses someone will face after an injury accident such as those involving whiplash. For some victims, their ongoing suffering, such as the continuing physical pain of their injuries, causes more overall challenges and loss than dealing with their financial losses.
Whiplash can result in immense physical pain, causing you to miss out on the activities or hobbies you once enjoyed or turned to for stress relief. In addition, you may face many challenges with your physical limitations and require the assistance of someone else to help you take care of your domestic duties like cooking, cleaning, or childcare or help you with self-care activities during your recovery. The longer it takes for your whiplash to resolve, the more difficulty you might experience with your limitations, making you feel even more frustrated.
Your personal injury attorney should include compensation for the pain and suffering you have dealt with because of your whiplash injuries. Receiving compensation for pain and suffering won’t erase or fix the difficulties you have faced; however, it can make your life easier moving forward and is often the best way to make up for the damage the at-fault party caused.
Call an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney to Start Your Whiplash Claim Today
Although whiplash might seem minor to some, it is an injury that has the potential to turn your world upside down. Remember that it’s essential to seek compensation as soon after your injury accident as possible. No matter your state, there is a statute of limitations or a deadline you must adhere to when filing a personal injury lawsuit.
By meeting with an experienced personal injury attorney as soon after learning about your injuries as possible, you will know the best way to move forward and can maximize your recovery. Don’t wait – reach out and schedule a no-obligation case review with an attorney today to get your whiplash claim started.
The right legal help will allow you to focus on your whiplash treatment while knowing someone protects your legal rights.