Filing a Lawsuit for Whiplash Due to An Accident
Whiplash is mainly a term used for soft tissue damage that occurs during a car accident or a vehicular accident when hit from behind usually by another motorist. The rapid acceleration, i.e. going from a slow speed or stop position causes the head to jerk forward, and then violently backward, causing whiplash.
The problem with a whiplash injury from a legal standpoint is it isn’t easy to prove despite the symptoms being painful and at times significantly debilitating. You will mainly experience whiplash after a car accident. However, it isn’t instantly apparent whether or not you should file a lawsuit for the injuries. So, the first step should be to get the required medical attention and then seek the help of a personal injury lawyer.
Get the Required Medical Attention Right Away
Now before you do anything, especially if you were in a car accident, is to get the required medical attention. Visit a doctor even if there is a slight chance of discomfort or pain. It is important to emphasize that many soft tissue injuries, including cervical strains and various other injuries that are similar or associated with whiplash, aren’t immediately apparent after an accident.
The advantage of seeing a doctor right after an accident is that they (the doctors) will be able to identify and document the signs of whiplash which are otherwise unnoticed. If you do decide to file an injury claim, it will become apparent that you can and back your injury claims on medical grounds. Furthermore, most insurance adjusters tend to view whiplash cases with a degree of suspicion. That’s why medical records and attention is so important.
Commence the Claim Process Right Away
Now if your whiplash injury has been medically documented, you don’t want to waste too much time with filing a personal injury claim.
California allows liability claims for car-related personal injuries. Therefore, you want to notify the insurance company for the driver who is at fault in writing. You will want to inform them of your intent to file a lawsuit or insurance claim. Better yet, you should contact an injury attorney and they will take care of this process on your behalf.
While your injuries may get better or they may get worse, the sooner you notify the payee, i.e. the person who is responsible for dispensing compensation of the claim, the more seriously it will be taken. However, filing a claim does not automatically translate to accepting a settlement. It is important that the nature and the full extent of the injuries, as well as related damages caused by the accident, are ascertained.
The Claim Process for Whiplash Injuries
When you consult a personal injury lawyer, the first thing they will do is advise you on if it is a claim you should pursue based on the available information. If you decide to go ahead with the lawsuit, the next step will be to file a suit against the liable party or the negligent party. Doing this improves the chances of reaching a settlement before trial. Negligent parties, in most cases, tend to negotiate a settlement which helps them with avoiding costs associated with things going to court.
The settlement amounts as well as the trial verdicts will vary from one case to the next, but in most cases, whiplash injuries can get you anywhere from $3k to $10k. In the case of more serious injuries, it could mean somewhere in the $30k ballpark. Severe injuries like ones relating to areas like the vertebrae, nerve damage, etc., could lead to settlements nearing $100,000.
These settlement amounts aren’t set in stone. An experienced attorney may be able to negotiate a higher settlement amount on your behalf.
Why is a Personal Injury Lawsuit Imperative?
Insurance adjusters don’t always payout when you make a claim. There is also the possibility that the person who caused the accident even has insurance. That’s when it becomes apparent that the only way to get compensated is to file a personal injury lawsuit, which helps to collect on those losses.
If the case goes to litigation, it becomes possible to recover damages, like pain and suffering. The best person to advise you though is a personal injury attorney, ideally in the jurisdiction of the accident. Make sure to ask the attorney about their opinion as to if you stand a chance of winning.
Many times, whiplash injuries or ones like it are labeled as “fake claims” though there may be legitimate damage to the soft tissue. A violent and sudden retraction of the neck can end up causing lots of physical issues, and that will often make it difficult to perform your day-to-day functions.
Filing a personal injury claim may give you the opportunity to negotiate a settlement which at least covers your medical bills, loss of income, and helps get you back on track. However, to ensure that you pursue the case in the right way, it is important to get in touch with a personal injury attorney and provide them with all relevant medical and miscellaneous documentary evidence to back your claim. It is only then that an attorney can properly advise you as to the best course of action for your claim.