Can I Sue After a Car Accident for Whiplash?
April 5, 2022 | Car Accidents
Several injuries can result from a car accident, and one of the most common is whiplash. While many believe this injury is not severe, it can lead to substantial medical bills for treatment. Whiplash happens when the neck stretches to maximum capacity and then snaps back. The force of the snap leads to internal injuries.
Whiplash can require medical treatment, including ongoing physical therapy, and it can cause pain, suffering, and limitations on your life. Anytime you have losses from whiplash, you might have the right to seek compensation. You will need a car accident attorney to discuss your injury and legal options.
Can a car accident attorney sue for whiplash?
A car accident attorney can help you sue for whiplash if you have a diagnosis and the injury resulted from the car accident. Just like any other injury, whiplash can be the basis for a car accident claim.
A whiplash injury is a hard-to-diagnose soft tissue injury. These injuries do not always show up on X-rays, and the key to getting treatment is to receive a diagnosis.
Before a Missouri car accident lawyer can sue on your behalf, you must file an insurance claim detailing your accident and the damages that resulted from the accident. Even to file an insurance claim, you will need an experienced lawyer.
If the insurance company is unwilling to negotiate or offer a fair settlement, you will need to discuss your option to sue.
Before filing a lawsuit, you must address:
- Fault in the accident
- The extent of your injuries
- Other damages and losses
- The available insurance coverage
The insurance company will often try to negotiate before going into litigation. Even after reaching litigation, you can still settle at any time before the court case ends with a verdict.
What compensation can you recover?
While you will primarily receive compensation for your whiplash damages, you may recover other compensation.
A car accident lawyer can seek:
- Lost income
- Hospital and emergency care
- Doctor’s visits
- Physical therapy
- Time off work or school
- Pain and suffering
- Property damages
Adding these damages to your whiplash claim can increase the compensation you may deserve. Compensation will vary in each case, and you will need to work with your car accident attorney to determine how much your case is worth.
What are the symptoms of whiplash?
Whiplash symptoms vary from person to person, depending on the accident’s severity and the force that caused the injury. Symptoms can last weeks, months, and even years, depending on the severity and treatment.
Common symptoms include:
- Loss of motion
- Neck stiffness
- Tingling sensation in the arms
- Difficulty sleeping
- Neck pain
You may often see these symptoms immediately after an accident, but they can also appear days after. Your doctor can determine that you have whiplash by documenting your symptoms and performing a physical exam. They will check your range of motion, strength, and reflexes during the exam. They will also arrange for diagnostic testing such as X-rays, MRIs, and CT scans. Together, these tests will often confirm what you and your doctor already suspected. They can also identify other underlying issues you may not recognize.
What causes whiplash?
While we mentioned that whiplash might occur in a car accident, specific circumstances can cause this injury. If you are in the vehicle, restrained by your seat belt, and the car stops suddenly, these circumstances may be all it takes to cause whiplash.
Car accidents result from driver negligence such as:
- Fatigued driving
- Road rage
- Drunk driving
- Distracted driving
No matter why they are negligent, drivers and their insurance companies are liable for the damages that their actions caused. Whiplash is not the only injury you may sustain from an accident, and it is essential to seek immediate medical attention after an accident.
What treatment do you need for whiplash following a car accident?
Depending on the severity of your whiplash injury, you will need to undergo different treatments. Typically your neck will need to be immobilized to allow the tendons, muscles, and tissues to heal properly. Whiplash patients will also need to work with pain management specialists.
In some cases, prescription medication may be necessary, along with physical therapy. In severe cases of whiplash, patients will need to receive an injection. Do not subject yourself to any treatments without consulting with a doctor first. A common mistake is getting treatment for a condition without consulting a physician, and the condition becomes worse.
You will need a personalized treatment plan to ensure you get the proper treatment for your injuries. While treating your injuries is crucial to your well-being, showing the accident’s impact on your life is also essential. Medical records will be critical evidence for obtaining compensation, whether it be through insurance settlements or a car accident lawsuit.
Proving whiplash in a car accident lawsuit
If you should file a lawsuit for your whiplash injury, a car accident attorney will need to prove your losses.
Your lawyer will need to build a strong case by obtaining:
- Official crash reports
- Vehicle repair estimate
- Proof of lost income
- Photographs of your injuries and vehicle damage
- Witnesses statements
You should also gather any other pertinent documentation that can prove your damages.
Furthermore, you must prove:
- The driver owed you a duty of care
- They breached that duty
- The breach caused you injuries
- These injuries resulted in financial losses
The law requires you to report most accidents. For instance, Missouri requires any accident that results in losses greater than $500 to have a crash report. After an accident, always call 911 to ensure that the police file an official report.
This report will be crucial to your case. It will contain pertinent information for your claim and proof of the accident. Follow all doctor’s orders after an accident to ensure you are on the path to recovery.
How can a car accident attorney help?
After being in an accident, you will need medical attention and legal advice. An experienced attorney will investigate your case and determine who the liable parties were for your accident. They will also review your insurance policy and the possibility of a claim.
A car accident attorney will then request medical documents and estimate how much your case is worth. Next, they will present a claim to the insurance company seeking compensation for your damages. Negotiations will often take place, and your lawyer will work to reach a fair settlement.
If the insurance company continues to send lowball offers and is unwilling to offer you what your case is worth, your attorney will look into filing a lawsuit. Most cases do not reach the litigation phase, but you want someone who is ready to go to trial if necessary.
After an accident, contact a Dixon Injury Firm lawyer to discuss your legal options. Set up your free case evaluation today so you can get started and ensure you file a claim before the statute of limitations expires.