If you’ve been in a car accident, especially if you were rear-ended, you may be wondering if you have whiplash.
The experience can be traumatic, and adding a whiplash injury on top of other possible injuries makes for a stressful situation.
It is always important to seek medical assistance after a car accident, even if you don’t feel like you’ve been injured.
Injuries such as whiplash can take a day or more until you are feeling the full effect.
If you have whiplash as a result of an accident that wasn’t your fault, you may be entitled to compensation.
Your Whiplash Injury
Whiplash results from your neck whipping forcefully backward and forward at a rapid rate.
This quick motion can cause torn ligaments in your neck, and other pains and strains that may not be readily apparent after an accident.
Whiplash can be a hard injury to live with as you recover. There may be constant pain and other unpleasant symptoms such as dizziness that can affect your day-to-day life.
How Car Accidents Cause Whiplash
Car accidents enact massive force on the body.
While traveling in a car, at any given point you are going the same speed as the car.
When something abruptly causes the car to stop, your body is forcefully stopped as well.
Depending on the angle that the force is coming from, your safety restraint (seatbelt) will keep you from flying forward. This is good, but it does leave your head to forcefully jolt around as the impact source and your seat belt to apply different forces on your body.
The headrest in the car is meant to help keep your head from whipping backward. This may not be the case if you are leaning forward when you are hit, or if your headrest isn’t adjusted to the proper height.
Whiplash injuries usually occur when your car is struck from behind, sending your body forward, and your head quickly backward, straining your neck. When your car comes to a stop, your head is then thrown all the way forward. The speed of these actions causes whiplash.
What Are the Symptoms of Whiplash?
There are many symptoms of whiplash, mostly involving the neck and shoulders.
You may be surprised to know that some of the symptoms can also affect your arms and hands. The neck contains many nerves that, when damaged, can create numb sensations throughout your upper body.
Symptoms of whiplash may include:
- Neck pain
- Shoulder pain
- Upper and lower back pain
- Numbness in the hands or arms
- Difficulty remembering
- Sleep disturbances
- Unusual tiredness
Please get properly diagnosed for injuries after a car accident. Not only for the sake of your health but if you end up needing to speak to a personal injury attorney, medical records will help in your case for compensation.
How is whiplash diagnosed?
When you go to the hospital to get checked out, you may be expecting to get an x-ray.
X-rays, however, aren’t effective in identifying whiplash injuries.
If your doctor suspects whiplash from your accident, you will more likely undergo a CT scan or an MRI.
These imaging processes help the doctor identify the soft tissue muscle and ligament injuries that have occurred.
Is whiplash considered a serious injury?
Whiplash can be a very serious injury, especially if it is accompanied by other serious problems like traumatic brain injuries or concussions.
Any of the symptoms listed above can be amplified to varying degrees based on the severity of the whiplash. These symptoms can last for extended amounts of time if the condition is severe.
Whiplash can happen to anyone but is more likely to happen in those who are older or less physically fit. Those who fit this category are more susceptible to being whipped back and forth during a car accident.
Whiplash Injury Compensation
If you have experienced whiplash in an auto accident that wasn’t your fault, you may be wondering if you can try to seek compensation.
Don’t feel bad about trying to seek compensation. After all, you are now accruing medical bills and other expenses you didn’t have before. Your way of life is also affected by the pain you are dealing with, resulting in pain and suffering.
Getting compensation from the at-fault party is a way to help ease some of these burdens.
Can whiplash be proven?
Whiplash can be proven by a visit to your doctor as soon as you can after the accident. This will prove your injury, and relate the diagnosis to being a result of the accident.
The location of the damage on your car will also provide a lot of proof in your case.
Whiplash is most often caused by rear-end collisions, and therefore damage on the backside of your car will allude to your injury claims being valid.
How much compensation do you get for whiplash?
Whiplash itself isn’t the most severe injury you can get from a car accident.
Most whiplash injuries are treated with ice and time. While you may get money in your settlement for pain and suffering, you will have less monetary obligations than a more severe injury, like a traumatic brain injury, because treatment is less intensive.
There are also many jobs in which you will still be able to work while having whiplash, so you may have less money in lost wages as well.
This means you will be able to claim less for your monetary losses.
You will still be out money, and this type of injury will likely cause a change in your lifestyle for a time, so seeking compensation for whiplash injuries is valid.
How do I know if I have a valid claim for whiplash injury compensation?
Any accident in which you were the victim and sustained an injury is a valid reason to seek compensation.
You will be out money in medical bills and treatment, as well as possible lost wages.
If you have neck or shoulder pain and went to see a doctor, you should probably speak with an attorney. Doing so before speaking with the other party’s insurance company will help you make sure you are getting a fair deal in the settlement they are offering you.
The attorney will talk through your case with you to make sure they have all the details and decide if working together will be a good fit for everyone.
They will also be able to help you if settlement falls through and your case ends up going to court. Having an expert on your side is vital in this instance.
How is compensation for whiplash calculated?
Just like any accident injury, your whiplash injury compensation would be calculated based on the expenses you accrue from your accident, combined with any pain and suffering awarded to you.
Pain and suffering is sometimes calculated as a multiplier of the medical bills and lost wages you incur. For example, if your medical bills were $12,500, a ruling may give you a 1.5x multiplier on that amount for an added $18,750 to the verdict. This will vary and is used only as an example. Each case is different.
More often, insurance companies have sophisticated software that will calculate how many days you are suffering and with what type of injury. You may be awarded a more specific number based on past verdicts and other factors.
How much does it cost to claim for whiplash?
If you are the victim of an accident, you shouldn’t be paying anything out of pocket for a good injury attorney.
Most personal injury firms will give you a free consultation and offer to pursue your case for no attorney fee.
If you file a claim with us, we will even take care of your property damage claim. That’s how dedicated we are to helping you get the compensation you deserve.
You will pay us nothing out of pocket, and we only get paid if we win your case or reach a settlement.
There’s no reason not to reach out for a free consultation.
Contact VanDerGinst Law
We are honored to help injury victims get the compensation they deserve.
We take care of the legal side so that you can focus on getting better after your car accident.
The insurance company has a team of attorneys on their side–why shouldn’t you?
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The information contained on this website is presented by VanDerGinst Law P.C. It is not intended nor should it be construed as professional legal advice. The information is general in nature about the Firm, the scope of services we offer, and our community outreach, it is not legal advice. Please contact us by phone, email, mail, or via this website for inquiries. Contacting us does not create an attorney-client relationship. Please contact a personal injury attorney for a consultation regarding your situation. This website is not intended to solicit clients outside the State of Iowa and/or the State of Illinois.