Three million cases of whiplash occur in the United States each year, mostly trauma-related and caused by rear-end collisions. Though whiplash is not considered a serious injury, you can still pursue a claim.
The long-term effects of a whiplash injury can result in dizziness or stiffness around the neck and upper extremities in the body. Some injuries are more severe compared to the norm and can impact your daily life to a certain extent.
In 2022, Illinois recorded a total of 1,151 fatal crashes, with approximately 400 accidents taking place in the Chicago County area. If you’ve suffered from a whiplash injury, it’s important to understand what to do after a collision.
Here’s everything you need to know.
What Causes a Whiplash Injury?
Whiplash injuries are soft tissue wounds that impact parts of the neck, including discs, cervical muscles, ligaments, and intervertebral joints. It primarily results in stiffness and neck sprain, though there are different grades to the injury.
Grade 4 is considered the most severe form of a whiplash injury that causes hyperflexion, myofascial injuries, cervical sprain, and more. It may also have long-term effects like decreased range of motion, dizziness, and impaired sleep.
Most whiplash injuries occur as a result of a motor vehicle accident. Major causes include sports injuries, repetitive slips and falls, physical assault, and more. In case of a vehicle crash, most whiplash injuries occur in rear-end accidents.
For instance, this happens when vehicles move above the speed limit at 14 miles per hour or less, resulting in a rear-end collision. In such cases, the driver’s body suffers from a jolt that can hyperextend the neck when rapid deceleration occurs.
As a result, the head is thrown forward or even backward, depending on the severity of the collision. Sometimes, the airbags fail to activate in a car crash, which can cause serious damage to your neck, often resulting in a whiplash injury.
What’s the Next Step After a Whiplash Injury?
Your first initiative should be to seek medical treatment. After a car accident, a whiplash injury can prove to be dangerous with long-term effects. It’s important to document the nature of the injuries sustained in a crash.
Whiplash injuries are hard to prove as only the soft tissues are affected. Most victims need to undergo physiotherapy or other forms of treatment. Demonstrating this to an insurance company helps prove the injuries are severe.
In some cases, the effects of a whiplash injury may be delayed. They may not appear immediately after a motor vehicle accident. The injury can cause damage several days, weeks, or even months after the actual incident.
For this reason, it’s important to speak to a medical practitioner and conduct several tests before issuing a claim.
How to Make a Claim for a Whiplash Injury?
You can claim compensation for whiplash injuries in no-fault states through your personal insurance company. You will require a PIP (personal injury protection) plan that covers the medical bills and lost wages as a result of the injury.
To recover compensation against the insurer of another driver, it’s important to produce medical documentation that states the severity of your case. The fastest way to pursue a claim is by negotiating an out-of-court settlement.
While going to court is one way to demonstrate the extent of your losses, it’s time-consuming and complicated. A better approach would be to hire a whiplash lawyer who can make your case and ensure you receive a fair amount to cover damages.
The steps to issuing a claim for a whiplash injury against the other driver are:
- Providing evidence for negligent driving
- Proving the negligence caused the collision
- Demonstrating the extent of loss and injury
- Diagnosing whiplash injury by a doctor
What Happens in a Whiplash Lawsuit Settlement?
Most cases involving whiplash injuries can be resolved in the form of a settlement between two parties. But the settlement amount will vary from case to case and depends on three primary factors:
- Severity of the plaintiff’s injury: Some whiplash injuries require more healing time and treatment. The most serious injuries account for the highest settlement amounts.
- Credibility of injuries sustained: The plaintiff must show substantial evidence to prove that their whiplash injury has impacted their source of earning and livelihood.
- Type of attorney you hire: Whiplash injury lawyers understand the intensity of your injury and put forward solutions that best suit your situation.
What Can You Claim Compensation For?
After a whiplash injury, you can claim compensation for the following:
- Lost earnings for the work you miss or cannot do as a result of the whiplash injury where performance is hampered
- Medical expenses to treat and resolve the whiplash injury, including compensation for mental and emotional distress and pain
In some cases, victims collect compensation from an insurer by using their PIP coverage, which helps cover a percentage of the cost. This kind of compensation is limited to partial lost wages and medical costs based on the policy. Call For SR22 Insurance Ohio Estimates.
When a Whiplash Claim Is Denied
Many motor accident vehicles cause a lot of damage but are not dealt with on time. An insurer can deny your claim for a whiplash injury. Though going through an appeal is an ideal method, it doesn’t always work.
You can either issue an appeal order with the insurer or hire an attorney to battle a lawsuit when a claim is denied by the person at fault. You cannot wait too long before filing a whiplash claim. In some states, you’re obligated to wait for a period of two to four months to file a civil claim.
How to Claim Compensation for a Whiplash Injury
Most states in the U.S. give a plaintiff two to four years to file a civil claim after a car accident that results in a whiplash injury.
Whiplash injuries are difficult to prove in court. If you’ve run out of time and resources, seeking professional help is best. An experienced car accident lawyer can handle all kinds of claims to maximize your chances of receiving compensation for your losses.