How Much Is Whiplash Worth in a Lawsuit?
Whiplash is a common injury relating to motor vehicle accidents. It occurs when the neck suddenly whips back and forth, causing a sprain or strain that can prove painful and disruptive.
While its severity can vary, its bearing on a victim’s life can prove significant, leading many to seek compensation through a lawsuit. The value of a whiplash claim can depend on several factors, including the full extent of your injuries. By working with a Phoenix personal injury lawyer, however, you can better understand how much compensation you deserve for your losses.
Determining the Worth of Whiplash in a Lawsuit
Understanding the potential value of a whiplash injury in a lawsuit can prove paramount to making informed legal decisions. Every whiplash case varies, and settlement amounts can depend on many factors.
Factors That Influence the Value of a Whiplash Claim
Several factors can influence the value of a whiplash claim:
- The severity of your injury: If you suffered severe whiplash in an accident, you can expect to file a claim for a larger amount than if you suffered relatively minor injuries.
- The cost of medical treatment after your injury: Medical treatment costs can rise after any accident, leaving you struggling to determine what comes next and how to pay your bills.
- Whether you lost income as a result of your injury: Following an accident, you may have had to remain out of work for several days or weeks, especially if you suffered chronic whiplash symptoms.
- Your pain and suffering, including the physical pain relating to your injury and the emotional struggle you faced during recovery.
- Whether you had to change profession or leave your job because of whiplash.
- The likelihood that you will continue to suffer pain or disability relating to your injuries.
The conduct of the liable party, including whether they engaged in any activities that might lead to punitive damages, could also change the compensation you receive. Furthermore, the insurance policy that covers the liable party could determine your ability to recover compensation for whiplash injuries.
The Calculation of Whiplash Damages
Your lawyer calculates the damages you can claim for a whiplash injury by adding up all your financial losses relating to the injury (such as medical expenses and lost earnings) and potentially including an additional amount for pain and suffering.
The latter can often prove the most challenging part of determining the value of a whiplash claim, as it can be hard to quantify pain and suffering in monetary terms. A lawyer can explain how to do this most effectively since pain and suffering can substantially influence your life.
The Role of the Severity of Injury in Determining Worth
The severity of your whiplash injury plays a significant role in the value of your claim. A mild whiplash that resolves quickly may not warrant a high claim value. A severe case, however, especially one involving long-term or permanent disability and requiring extensive medical treatment, will most likely result in a higher claim value.
The consequences of your injuries on your life, including the overall suffering that the accident caused, can also influence how much compensation you can recover.
The Legal Process for Whiplash Claims
Before securing compensation for a whiplash injury, you must navigate the legal process. Working with an attorney can make it much easier to fully establish the damages you sustained and seek the compensation you deserve.
The Steps to Filing a Whiplash Claim
Filing a whiplash claim can prove complicated. By following the right steps, however, you can feel confident that you have provided all the necessary evidence to secure the compensation you deserve.
Talk to an Attorney
Contact a qualified legal professional as soon as you realize you sustained whiplash injuries in your accident. An attorney can walk you through each stage of the claim process and ensure you fully understand your right to compensation.
Go Through the Investigation Process
Your attorney will investigate how your whiplash injuries occurred and the extent of the damages that the accident caused. You may go through a thorough investigation process as your attorney collects witness statements, reviews documentation from the accident scene, and even visits the location to better understand what likely caused the accident.
Your attorney may sometimes bring in an expert on accident reconstruction to build a complete account of the probable causes of the incident.
Submit Your Claim
To file a whiplash claim, you must submit it to the liable party’s insurance company. Your attorney can ensure you have a clear, compelling claim that details the accident, the damages you sustained, and the compensation you expect for your whiplash injuries.
The insurance company will have the chance to review your submitted evidence and collect evidence relating to the case.
Go Through the Negotiation Process
The negotiation process begins once the insurance company examines all the evidence relating to your case. The insurance company may issue a settlement offer soon after reviewing your case. This offer, unfortunately, will likely include only a fraction of the damages you sustained in the accident.
Your lawyer will then work with you to determine whether you want to accept a settlement offer or come up with an answer in response. Throughout the process, you always have the right to turn down a settlement offer that does not fit your needs.
Potentially Go to Court
If you cannot reach an agreement with the insurance company through negotiation, you may need to go to court. Your attorney would present your case, including the evidence relating to the accident and the damages you sustained, and ask the court to issue an award for the damages you suffered.
The Role of Evidence in Proving a Whiplash Injury
Evidence is crucial in proving a whiplash injury. This can include photographs of the accident scene, witness testimonies, and, most importantly, medical reports detailing the extent and nature of your injuries. A lawyer can collect the evidence to establish the cause of your whiplash injuries and the damages you dealt with.
The Importance of Medical Documentation
Documenting your medical treatment from beginning to end is arguably one of the most vital aspects of a whiplash claim. These records can reveal the severity of your injury, the treatments you received, and their costs, all of which help determine your claim’s worth.
Your medical records can also help display future anticipated damages relating to a whiplash injury, including whether you will continue to need medical treatment or if chronic symptoms could interfere with your ability to return to work.
The insurance company may bring in medical experts to argue that you do not need the full treatment you claim or that your injuries should not reasonably cause the limitations outlined in your claim. By working with your medical care providers, however, you can fully display your needs relating to the accident.
The Role of Legal Representation in the Whiplash Claim Process
Having a lawyer on your side can make all the difference when pursuing a whiplash claim.
An attorney offers numerous benefits along the way.
- They can build a strong case showing the other party’s liability for the accident. Without an attorney, you may struggle to display liability, especially in cases where it can prove challenging to collect necessary evidence.
- They can argue for the compensation you deserve. An attorney can ensure you know how much compensation to expect—which can prevent you from accepting a low settlement offer—and they can also fight with the insurance company on your be half.
- They can guide you through the complex legal process of a whiplash claim, making you more confident that you have done everything necessary to recover just compensation for your injuries.
- They can provide you with comprehensive legal advice covering all key elements of the claim process.
Many people find that, even after covering their legal fees, they receive far more compensation after bringing in an attorney than they could have otherwise.
Common Misconceptions About Whiplash Lawsuits
Many misconceptions revolve around whiplash lawsuits:
#1: It’s Easy to Fake a Whiplash Injury
Many people think that faking a whiplash injury is simple. They may even believe that people might take a claim to court to recover compensation despite not sustaining real injuries.
Medical professionals, however, can easily distinguish between a real injury and a false claim. They can also provide the legal proof necessary to establish a whiplash injury.
#2: It’s Not Worth Pursuing a Claim for a Minor Injury
Whiplash injuries can prove relatively minor for some victims. You may recover smoothly and get back to work soon after your accident. Even a minor injury, however, can lead to substantial medical bills, for which you may deserve compensation. A lawyer can determine what compensation you can expect as part of a whiplash claim.
Tips for Maximizing the Worth of a Whiplash Claim
Getting immediate medical attention, documenting everything, and hiring a lawyer can all maximize the worth of your whiplash claim. Each contributes to building a stronger case that accurately represents the full extent of your financial losses and pain and suffering due to the injury.
Contact an Attorney for Help With Your Whiplash Claim
The value of a whiplash claim depends on a range of factors, including the severity and consequences of the injury, the associated costs, and the quality of your legal representation. While the process will entail challenges, understanding these factors and seeking professional advice can allow you to pursue the compensation you deserve. Contact an attorney as soon as possible after your accident to get the legal support you deserve.