Each year in the United States, more than 3 million people suffer whiplash injuries from an auto accident. About half of those who experience whiplash end up with chronic pain because of it.
You don’t need to be in a severe car accident to get whiplash either. The majority of whiplash injuries happen when you crash at 12 miles per hour or slower.
Have you recently been in a car accident and feel pain in your neck? Did someone else cause the accident, and you have proof? If you have injuries from a recent crash and suspect whiplash, you may be able to file a suit to get compensation.
The first thing you need to do is see a doctor. If the doctor diagnoses you with whiplash, you could have a personal injury claim.
Find out if you might need a whiplash injury attorney and the average settlement for a whiplash case below.
What Is Whiplash?
Whiplash refers to a neck injury caused by a sudden, rapid snapping of the head and neck back and forth. The rapid snap resembles the cracking of a whip.
Whiplash injuries commonly occur in car accidents, specifically when someone gets rear-ended. Whiplash can also occur from physical abuse, sports accidents, and other forceful traumas.
The rapid movement back and forth causes the neck to overextend past its safe range of motion. This injures the soft tissues of the neck, including tendons, ligaments, and muscles. The movement may result in a strain, but it can also tear the delicate tissues.
The Symptoms of Whiplash
Whiplash does not always become apparent right away. Usually, symptoms of whiplash take anywhere from 24 hours to a few days to fully develop.
Keep an eye out for common whiplash symptoms like:
- Headaches (especially ones that begin at the base of your skull)
- Stiff neck
- Difficulty moving your neck
- Neck pain
- Pain that gets worse when you move your neck
- Pain or tenderness in your arms, upper back, and shoulders
Some whiplash patients also experience more severe symptoms like:
- Blurred vision
- Difficulty concentrating
- Memory issues
- Trouble sleeping
- Ringing in your ears
Even if you do not feel these symptoms after a vehicle accident or another traumatic incident, you should still go to a doctor. You may have other injuries that only a trained professional would be able to notice.
The symptoms of whiplash may range from minor to severe. They also tend to last for a long time. It can take weeks or months to fully recover from a whiplash injury.
Your doctor will likely recommend that you rest and apply heat and cold alternatively for a couple of days. They may recommend that you wear a brace or collar, but that’s become a less used treatment in recent years.
Your doctor will also advise you to take over-the-counter medications like ibuprofen or acetaminophen to control the pain. For severe injuries, they may prescribe stronger pain medications or a muscle relaxant. They may also recommend injections.
Once you can move your neck without too much pain, your doctor will have you start doing physical therapy.
Does Whiplash Qualify You for a Personal Injury Lawsuit?
When you break a bone, you can see it on an X-ray. Whiplash injuries do not show up on any medical scans since they affect the soft tissue. This makes proving whiplash to an insurance company or a judge much more difficult.
That’s why you must see a physician as soon as possible after your injury. The faster you start the documentation process, the more proof you’ll have to support a personal injury lawsuit.
Damages in a Whiplash Injury Case
You must also need to seek damages for your whiplash injury. Damages are compensation for loss of property or injury.
That includes things like:
- Medical bills
- Hospital bills
- Ambulance costs
- Property damage
- Lost wages due to inability to work
- Reduced earning capacity
- Loss of future income
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional trauma and distress
The things that qualify as damages vary from case to case. And they are an important factor in calculating the average settlement for whiplash lawsuits. That’s why it’s a good idea to talk to a lawyer before you decide to sue.
You must also prove that the other driver, and only the other driver, caused the accident. The other driver must have acted negligently by failing to follow proper road rules and exercising due care on the road.
What Is the Average Settlement Payout for Whiplash Injury?
Many factors play into how much you can receive in a whiplash injury settlement. The extent of property damage and the severity of your injuries are two big ones.
If your whiplash injury has caused a permanent disability or prevents you from working for an extended period of time, you may get a higher offer.
Minor whiplash injuries typically settle for between $10,000 and $100,000.
Severe whiplash injuries with life-altering consequences like permanent disability result in higher settlements. Someone with this kind of permanent injury can expect between $1 million and $5 million in a severe whiplash settlement.
Hire a Whiplash Injury Attorney
It’s impossible to know exactly how much you can get in compensation after suffering whiplash. The best thing to do is to consult an experienced lawyer who understands what makes a good personal injury case.
Are you suffering from whiplash due to someone else’s negligence?
Contact the Heidari Law Group for a reliable whiplash injury attorney. Their dedicated trial lawyers have recently won many cases with $1+ million settlements.
Call for a free case evaluation today!