Can I Seek Compensation if I Suffer Whiplash in an Auto Accident?

man with neck painWhen one car collides with another, such as in a rear-end crash, it causes the driver’s head to whip forward and back. This quick motion can stretch the muscles, discs and tendons in the neck. Victims can suffer intense pain, headaches, blurred vision and other serious symptoms as a result.

Those who have experienced whiplash can tell you it is an unpleasant and painful injury. Yet because it is a soft-tissue injury, car insurance companies like to downplay the damage as minor. Insurance companies may even try to deny the victim has any injury. If the at-fault driver’s insurance company offers you compensation, it is likely to be far less than the full value of your claim.

If you suffered severe whiplash in a car accident, recovering full compensation for your damages is critical. A qualified and knowledgeable attorney can dispute the insurance company’s arguments on your behalf and negotiate for full compensation.

Galloway Jefcoat has significant experience helping vehicle accident victims in Louisiana. A Lafayette car accident attorney from our firm is ready to assist you during this difficult time, and there are no upfront costs or fees to pay.

What is a Whiplash Injury?

Whiplash gets its name from the whipping motion the victim’s neck makes when the injury occurs. If your head and neck whip back and forth quickly enough, it could cause serious damage and considerable pain. While whiplash is classified as a neck injury, it can also affect your arms, hands and lower back.

Whiplash Symptoms Can be Delayed

After a car crash, adrenalin and endorphins could initially mask symptoms of whiplash. It may take hours or even days to fully experience pain and other symptoms. However, the pain often worsens over time, along with other symptoms like limited range of motion.

If you experience any of these symptoms, you should seek medical treatment right away. Common symptoms of whiplash include:

  • Neck stiffness
  • Blurry vision
  • Fatigue
  • Increased pain when you move your neck
  • Ringing in your ears
  • Feeling dizzy
  • Trouble sleeping

How is Whiplash Treated?

Whiplash injuries can range in severity. For a minor injury, you may be able to treat it with over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications, along with heat and/or ice.

More severe whiplash injuries may require prescription medications, such as muscle relaxants, to manage pain and inflammation. Victims may also benefit from physical therapy to improve range of motion in the neck.

Seeking medical attention right away is critical. Waiting to seek treatment could cause your injuries to worsen and become more painful. This could lengthen your recovery time and have a negative effect on your claim for compensation.

Filing a Claim for a Whiplash Injury

If you suffered a whiplash injury in a car crash, calling an experienced attorney is an important step. Recovering compensation for any type of injury is challenging because the insurance company does not have your best interests in mind. However, whiplash claims are especially difficult because insurance companies are automatically skeptical of any soft-tissue injury.

You may be eligible to recover compensation for your damages if your attorney can prove your injuries were a direct result of the accident. For example, if you were involved in a rear-end crash, your attorney would need to explain how the force of impact caused your head and neck to whip forward and backward.

Your attorney must also establish the other driver is at fault for the crash. For instance, your lawyer may be able to prove the other driver was following you too closely or that he or she was speeding or distracted. It may be possible to determine from the amount of damage to the victim’s vehicle that the at-fault driver did not attempt to slow down.

Proof of a Whiplash Injury

Whiplash injuries are hard to prove. Although you may have sustained damage to the tendons and ligaments in your neck, it might not show up on a medical imaging test. Doctors often rely on the victim to report the symptoms he or she is feeling, along with the severity of those symptoms.

Detailed medical records that show consistent treatment are vital to the success of any injury claim. This is especially true for whiplash injuries. While insurers may cast doubt on your statements about your injuries, statements from doctors in your medical records are harder to dispute. Consistently reporting symptoms to your doctors, along with a record of continued treatment can help to support your case.

Your attorney can help you keep track of the bills and receipts you accumulate during your treatment. Documentation of your medical expenses should be included in your claim for compensation.

What Could a Whiplash Claim be Worth?

In addition to your medical expenses, you may be able to claim lost wages if your injury prevents you from working. Your pain may cause you to have to work less hours or do a different type of work. Additional pain and suffering damages may be available.

The value of your case will depend on various factors, such as:

  • Length of your recovery
  • Severity of your symptoms
  • Amount of medical care you need
  • Damage your vehicle suffered in the crash
  • How your injuries impact your life, including ability to work and engage in activities you enjoy

While the value of economic damages is concrete and based on documentation, non-economic damages are harder to evaluate.

That is why you need an attorney, one with significant experience, to help you obtain maximum compensation for your personal injuries. Validating these claims is often a challenging and complex process. Even with strong evidence, the insurance company may try to underpay or deny your claim.

By hiring an experienced attorney known for taking cases to court, you will be signaling to the insurance company you are committed to recovering full compensation.

Why Insurance Companies Are Skeptical of Whiplash Injuries

Proving whiplash and other soft-tissue injuries is tough. Even though the injury is very real to you, these cases often come down to your word and your doctor’s word against the insurance company’s. As stated earlier, these injuries may not show up on medical imaging tests. This gives insurers room to argue that you are exaggerating. They may even try to throw the doctor’s credibility into question.

The lengths to which insurance companies go to avoid paying full compensation for an injury may surprise you. However, even in the face of strong evidence, the insurance company is committed to its bottom line.

Contact Galloway Jefcoat for Experienced Legal Assistance

Whiplash is one of many serious injuries that can occur in a car accident. At Galloway Jefcoat, we understand the physical, financial and emotional trauma victims may experience from a car accident injury, like whiplash.

We are prepared to handle your case. While we cannot change what has happened, our legal team is ready to fight for full compensation for your losses.

Call today. There are no upfront costs: (337) 984-8020.