Scenario: Lisa was driving home from work when she was rear-ended in a truck accident. After she exited the car, she experienced only minor discomfort throughout her body but obeyed the ambulance driver’s advice by riding to the nearest hospital. She was assessed to have minor tissue injuries and told to follow up with her primary doctor in the following days. When she followed up with her doctor, the pain in her neck had increased significantly.
Does she have a case for compensation in a Whiplash Settlement?
This type of case is very prevalent since whiplash injuries are the most common type of injury in rear-end auto accidents. If you or a loved one have experienced a similar situation, you should seek legal counsel about how to proceed in filing a whiplash settlement claim. But to understand whiplash settlements, you first have to know more about whiplash and how personal injury settlement calculators work.
What is Whiplash?
Whiplash is a neck injury caused by a rapid and forceful back and forth movement of the neck and head. The motion is similar to the cracking of a whip, hence the name. According to Mayo Clinic, a common cause of whiplash is a rear-ending accident, but it can also occur due to slip and falls, sports injuries, and other physical traumas.
A typical whiplash injury entails minor tissue or ligament damage that heals on its own with time. Severe cases of whiplash, though, can involve broken bones or ruptured discs.
When to Seek Medical Treatment
If you have experienced an incident where your neck sustained quick and forceful movement, you should be assessed by a doctor, even if you feel fine. Whiplash does not always present itself immediately and may develop more with increased severity over several days.
In Lisa’s scenario mentioned above, she did the right thing by accepting the ambulance ride to be checked out at the hospital, even though she only felt discomfort. After a whiplash accident, a visit to the emergency room is the wise thing to do for your health, first and foremost, and because it provides treatment documentation early on. This will bolster your chances for compensation if you pursue a personal injury claim.
A common mistake that many auto accident victims make is forgoing the ambulance ride for fear of high costs and medical expenses. But when the accident was not your fault, and with hiring a reputable personal injury attorney, you will recoup those costs in a personal injury settlement.
It is always in your best interest to seek medical care when you have been involved in an accident to rule out potential injuries or long-term damage.
Symptoms of Whiplash
If you experience any combination of the following symptoms after an incident, you should seek medical attention.
- Minor discomfort throughout the body
- Pain or stiffness
- Worsening of pain with movement
- Pain in the shoulder, arm, or hands
- Tingling or numbness
- Loss of motion
- Blurry vision
- Ringing in the ears
Seeking an Accident Settlement
If you do believe that you have a whiplash settlement case, it is imperative that you hire an attorney and file a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance as soon as possible. Even if you do not have the total of all expenses and damages yet, it is better to move quickly than have your case delayed or dismissed.
Insurance companies do not want you to seek representation. Therefore, they may offer you a quick settlement amount. This number is rarely the total amount that you deserve to cover your needs. We advise that you consult with an attorney at Strickland and Kendall to determine the calculation of damages that is correct for your specific case.
Types of Damages
Many different elements determine the amount of compensation your claim is worth. Each element falls under two categories of damages: economic damages, otherwise known as special damages, and non-economic damages, called general damages.
Special Damages are elements of your case that already have a financial dollar assigned to them. They include expenses related directly to the incident, such as medical bills and estimations of property damage.
These damages also include financial burdens such as lost wages due to missed work or compensation for sick days used while in the hospital or on bed rest. Any type of bill or financial burden with a clear or calculable amount is considered a special damage.
Case aspects that are not as easy to calculate or define in dollar amounts are General Damages. These include burdens such as pain, mental trauma, suffering, or loss of the right of association and companionship with a spouse, known in legal terms as consortium.
Because this type of damage does not already have an assigned cost, it is essential to collect documentation of the effects. This paperwork may include medical records from psychologists, therapists, or physicians and recommended prescription medications. To be proactive in your whiplash case, collect witness testimonies of how the injury has affected the day-to-day life of yourself and those around you.
These documents will aid in developing the pain and suffering calculation for your case.
To determine the whiplash compensation you deserve, the insurance company will hire an insurance adjuster to add up your financial burdens and develop a settlement offer. To calculate a dollar amount for your pain and suffering, most adjusters use the multiplier method.
This multiplier is a number between 1 and 5 assigned to your case based on its severity. The adjuster gives a lower number of 2 or 3 to cases involving minor damage and suffering. For significant cases involving extensive surgeries or fatalities, the adjuster assigns a higher number. This adjuster will then multiply the determined number by the special damages total to determine an offer amount.
Negotiations often surround this multiplier in legal dealings; the insurance company will establish the multiplier low to minimize its payout. However, an experienced attorney will use appropriate documentation to fight for a higher multiplier to ensure you receive the total amount you deserve.
Industry-standard for a Whiplash Settlement?
Many insurance companies will try to convince you that there is a standard for how much a whiplash case is worth. This is not necessarily true. Because whiplash cases are common in rear-end auto accidents, the company will do all they can to keep your payout low to save on their costs.
Individual insurance companies have their own processes for settling whiplash claims, but there is not an industry standard that must be upheld. This is why it is beneficial to hire experienced personal injury lawyers who will go toe-to-toe with insurance adjusters to get you the amount of compensation you deserve.
Settling a claim on your own may mean that you walk away with an award, but you may not have all your needs covered. There may still be money left on the table that only a professional lawyer can obtain with a whiplash settlement calculator.
Do You Have a Whiplash Claim to Settle?
The lawyers at Strickland and Kendall have been fighting on our client’s behalf since 1994. We are passionate about the well-being and rights of our clients and have recovered millions in judgments and settlements. Our goal is to walk alongside your personal injury tragedy and give solid representation for your case.
Scheduling a consultation with us to discuss your case is free of charge, and if you decide to work with us, we only get paid when you obtain compensation for your case. There is no downside to speaking with our experienced attorneys, who can assess your case and determine what kind of personal injury settlement you can expect.
If you or a loved one were injured in an accident, and wish to discuss a whiplash settlement, call our office at 334-269-3230.