Whiplash can cause many devastating complications following a car accident. You may have difficulty moving your neck or notice pain and tension that seems to linger no matter what you do. Unfortunately, including whiplash in a car accident claim can prove challenging. You may feel the insurance company ignores your complaints or fails to take you seriously, making it very difficult to get the compensation you deserve for your injuries.
Did you suffer whiplash in a car accident? Follow these steps to increase the odds of getting compensation for those injuries.
Get a medical diagnosis for your injuries.
Symptoms of whiplash may, at first, seem relatively minor. You may assume that you have suffered normal soreness following your car accident and that symptoms will resolve soon. Unfortunately, as time goes on, you may notice increasing pain, weakness, or stiffness. Suddenly, you may realize that you have a serious problem.
Ideally, you should see a medical care provider as soon as possible after your accident. If you fail to see a medical care provider when the accident occurs, it can prove more difficult to establish exactly when the accident occurred. However, if you did not see a doctor right after the accident, you should see one as soon as you realize that normal stiffness after an accident has turned into something else.
A medical diagnosis can prove essential for clearly establishing your injuries from your car accident and proving that the injuries came from the car accident and not something else. Without a medical diagnosis, you may struggle to get the support and acknowledgment you need from the insurance company. A doctor can help show that you suffered whiplash and the extent of your losses due to those injuries.
Keep track of all bills you receive for your whiplash diagnosis, including co-pay and deductible amounts.
In general, when you file a claim for compensation for whiplash after a car accident, your claim will focus on the financial losses you sustained because of the accident. Most people find that medical bills make up the biggest percentage of the financial loss they have to deal with after the accident.
Keep track of all of your medical bills in one location. Note any chiropractic treatments, physical therapy, or other care you may have received due to severe whiplash injuries. Often, medical bills will rise higher than you expect after even minor injuries like whiplash. You want to ensure that you document all of those medical costs to include them as part of your claim.
Document any time you miss at work because of whiplash injuries from a car accident.
Did your whiplash injuries and associated pain keep you out of work? Did you have to stay out of work for several days after the accident, causing you to lose the income you would normally make during that time?
Did you attend follow-up appointments with a medical care provider, including a chiropractor or physical therapist, during work hours?
Many people find, to their surprise, that lost wages add up substantially following a whiplash injury. You may think of whiplash as something relatively minor, which will not prevent you from working or from taking care of other responsibilities. Unfortunately, whiplash will often result in substantial, ongoing pain and limitation, which can cause you to face employment limitations.
Keep track of all of the time you miss at work, including the time you might have to miss once you return after the initial recovery period. You can claim compensation for those wage losses as part of your claim.
Journal about the limitations and challenges you face because of your car accident injuries, including whiplash.
As part of your car accident claim, you may have the right to include a claim for compensation for the suffering you had to deal with after the accident. Often, whiplash causes substantial physical pain and emotional anguish that has nothing to do with your finances. Whiplash injuries may prevent you from going out with your friends or engaging in your favorite hobbies. You may have difficulty attending events that you had looked forward to for weeks or months before the accident, or you may have to leave early because of pain.
Even some of your preferred leisure activities may grow increasingly difficult as the pain and stiffness from whiplash continue to wear on you. You may have difficulty sitting on the couch and playing video games or going for a walk around the block, much less the more athletic endeavors that usually make up your day.
Journal about your limitations and the distress it causes you so that you can lay out the suffering you have faced. Keeping a journal accomplishes two things.
- First, it helps you put specific dates and times on those events later. You may not remember that you had to leave get-togethers early for eight weeks after the accident, but your journal will offer clear evidence.
- Second, it helps you remember the limitations and challenges you may have faced. Those challenges may blur together in your mind after the accident, making it more difficult to call them out. With your journal, you can establish all the losses and challenges you have faced. Keeping a journal can also help you offer the evidence the insurance company may need to provide compensation for your whiplash injuries.
Talk to a car accident lawyer about your rights.
Filing a whiplash claim can prove difficult. Although whiplash causes real limitations, many insurance companies do not take it seriously. Many people do not seek treatment for whiplash. They may take a few days to slow down and rest, then get on with their lives. Some people, however, experience much more severe symptoms due to whiplash and may face a much longer road to recovery. Not only that, if someone else caused your car accident, you may deserve compensation for all your losses.
A lawyer can help increase the odds that the insurance company will recognize the challenges you have faced and the extent of your injuries, which will, in turn, increase the odds that you will get the compensation you deserve.
A lawyer can lay out your rights in a way you can understand.
Many people do not know how much compensation they deserve regarding whiplash injuries. Most of the time, the insurance company will not provide that information independently. You may find yourself fighting for reasonable compensation following whiplash injuries from a car accident. Working with a lawyer gives you a clearer idea of how much compensation you deserve, so you can evaluate settlement offers and be sure of what is fair.
A lawyer can collect evidence related to your claim.
You will need evidence in several key areas to effectively put together your whiplash claim.
- First, you must show that the other party caused your car accident. If you cannot prove that the other party caused the accident, the insurance company may refuse to pay for your injuries, leaving you without the compensation you deserve.
- Second, you must prove that you suffered whiplash in the car accident. In some cases, that can be very difficult. The insurance company will typically refuse to accept your word on your injuries and require you to show medical evidence of any injuries you have sustained, including whiplash. Your lawyer can help provide you with more information about how to collect and use that evidence as part of your claim.
A lawyer can fight for you.
Insurance claims frequently turn into a fight. You may find yourself dealing with an insurance company that will not accept liability for your accident or refuses to acknowledge the full extent of your injuries and the suffering you faced because of whiplash. A lawyer can help fight on your behalf, ensuring that the insurance company takes your claim seriously and will work to recover the compensation you deserve.
A lawyer can prevent mistakes during the claim.
Often, little mistakes can mean big losses as you move forward with a whiplash claim. During any interaction with the insurance company, you need to carefully watch your words to ensure that you do not inadvertently limit the compensation you can recover in some way.
When you have a lawyer on your side, your lawyer can provide you with critical guidance that may make it easier to manage your claim. Furthermore, your lawyer can help guide your interactions with the insurance company or even take over many of those conversations as you recover from your injuries.
Continue to follow the recommendations of your care provider.
Your care provider may provide comprehensive advice about how to take care of yourself as you recover from your accident. Follow those instructions carefully. Your doctor may have several requirements.
You may need to participate in physical therapy.
That may mean visiting a physical therapist and working with the therapist to help improve overall mobility. You may need to work hard during those sessions and show your commitment to making progress as you recover from whiplash.
You may need to do exercises at home to help improve mobility.
Sometimes, your care provider may recommend specific exercises designed to help you regain some mobility following whiplash. You may need to do those exercises daily. Follow those instructions and perform those exercises as recommended. Remember that your therapist can usually tell if you fail to follow those instructions since you may not gain ground as quickly as anticipated. However, do not overdo those exercises since it could worsen overall pain or decrease short-term mobility.
You may need to avoid any activity that could worsen your whiplash injuries.
Your care provider may recommend that you stay away from high-contact sports, roller coasters, or anything else that could potentially jar your neck and back and worsen your injuries. Many people try to jump back into their preferred activities sooner than their care providers recommended. Unfortunately, that trauma could cause you to re-injure the area, slowing your recovery.
Often, people do not think twice about going their own way, ignoring the instructions issued by their care providers or trying to manipulate those instructions to fit their current needs. However, if you fail to follow the instructions issued by your care provider, it could inadvertently cause you to interfere with your recovery.
Not only can that mean more time dealing with your injuries, but it could also mean that the insurance company will not pay out the full compensation for your whiplash. The insurance company may claim that you worsened your injuries by failing to follow those orders, leaving them not liable for further challenges or limitations.
Contact a Lawyer After Your Car Accident Resulting in Whiplash
Many people worry that a lawyer will not help them when they suffer whiplash from a car accident. Whiplash can prove difficult to establish, especially if you have sustained a severe injury or have abnormal symptoms. However, working with a car accident lawyer can prove extremely valuable as you move forward with your car accident claim.
Contact an experienced car accident attorney as soon after your accident as possible to start working with a qualified legal professional who can help guide you through your claim.
Since starting his firm in 1999, Stewart J. Guss has had the honor of representing clients from all over the world, helping them recover from even the most catastrophic injuries.
Today, thanks to a strong belief in those values of compassion, respect, and approachability, the firm has grown to employ over 120 legal professionals in numerous offices across 4 states, with nationwide reach.