Whiplash is a term that refers to a very common injury that arises out of car accidents. Whiplash is a colloquial word that refers to a variety soft tissue injuries to the neck and back resulting from the rapid back-and-forth motion of the neck during a collision. Whiplash is also not a legal term. The term is also not used in medicine, which uses more specific terms for the particular injuries referred to as whiplash, such as "cervical acceleration/deceleration" (CAD), "whiplash associated disorders" (WAD), or soft tissue injury.
Soft tissue injuries may not present the most serious symptoms in the immediate aftermath of a car accident and, unlike a broken bone or a gash, there is often little evidence that an injury has occurred. This means that insurance adjusters and others may view whiplash claims skeptically. However, those injuries we call whiplash can result in painful limitations. A well-documented claim can lead to a settlement that will truly compensate the injured person and help them to access the medical treatment and therapy that they need.
Establishing Your Claim
Properly documenting your injury is critical to your ability to succeed in your injury claim. This begins immediately after the accident. This involves noting and preserving:
In the period immediately following the accident there is additional information that should be gathered. At the earliest opportunity you should gather:
Medical documentation will be significant and may include:
Lost work will also be relevant to your settlement and you should gather evidence about your employment, income, and the income/work that you missed as a result of your injuries.
Timing is a critical part of the car accident whiplash settlement process. Statutes of limitations require that injury claims be filed within a predetermined period of time. Statutes of limitation vary significantly between states.
Another consideration involves determining the true extent of your injuries. The full extent of an injury may not be clear until long after the accident. Beginning the car accident whiplash settlement process before you fully understand the extent of your injuries could result in an undervalued settlement.
The Settlement Process
The car accident whiplash settlement process, involves the following steps:
At this point the insurance adjuster may agree to your terms, disagree in part or in whole, or send a counteroffer. The parties will then continue to exchange documents and statements until a mutually acceptable amount is determined or a stalemate is reached. If an agreement can't be reached the claim will need to be pursued in court.
Get a Free Case Assessment
The car accident whiplash settlement process has a number of significant pitfalls that can result in financial losses. A competent lawyer can help guide you through the process and ensure that you are fairly compensated for your injuries. Contact a local attorney to schedule a free case evaluation to review your accident and claims.
Contact a qualified auto accident attorney to make sure your rights are protected.