Whiplash is a common injury after getting in a car accident. The bottom line of whether you can sue or not is yes, you can. However, determining whether you will be successful will also assist in determining whether it’s worth it to go through the process. The biggest question when suing is whether the fault is with you or another party. Pertinent laws in the state you reside in, as well as the records that were kept during the time of the accident, should be taken into account. Here are a few things that are important in determining a personal injury case in this situation:
Keeping Records to Prove Injury
• Medical – Whiplash is a soft tissue injury and considered an example of a sprain, which means it’s up to doctors to decide if you are suffering from it. It’s also not considered a serious injury, so to be successful in a lawsuit, it’s important to keep excellent records. Whether you want to sue for damages or not, it’s a necessity to go to a doctor immediately after the accident. Later on, you may decide that you don’t want to sue after all, but just in case, it’s best to have a medical doctor record your injuries. Keeping those medical records on hand when you decide to will help you prove that you’ve been injured. It’s a good idea also to keep information and proof of medication prescribed as a result of the accident, diagnoses and any other tests that were performed. If you continue needing medical attention from pain, it’s important to keep a record of every visit to make your case more successful.
• Costs – keeping track of medical bills, some wages lost as a result of being out of work, travel to and from doctor visits and hospitals, and even notes from the physician that keep you out of work for a particular period. This will help determine how much the court might award you.
• Accident Evidence – Any pictures of the crash will strengthen your case. This includes pictures of the location of the crash and road conditions. Truthfully, it would be helpful to have police reports and information from any witnesses to the accident, but this is an area where a personal injury lawyer would be particularly useful.
• How Whiplash Affects Your Life – Keep track of symptoms and how these symptoms are affecting your ability to do routine tasks. If you aren’t able to sleep, unable to go to family functions, have to stay home or cannot effectively take care of your family, it’s important to take note of that.
Fault States vs. Tort States
This is where some of the police reports and pictures from the accident will help, however, whether the state you live in is a tort or no-fault state is important. While most states have a liability system in place based on proving negligence, some states only allow the injured party to received a limited amount of compensation.Most no-fault states allow for the injured party to receive compensation for only the damages not covered by first party insurance. A minuscule number give the option for the insurance company to counter-sue.
To show negligence, it’s important to file a claim with insurance right away as well. Whiplash is often a result of being rear-ended, which is almost always considered the opposite party’s fault, even if you stopped short for some reason. However, you’ll still want to prove that the accident wasn’t your fault, which is another thing that a personal injury lawyer give guidance with.
Overall, the answer is almost always that you can sue after getting whiplash from a car accident. You’re allowed to seek out compensation for damages, especially if you weren’t at fault. However, the amount you receive and how difficult the case is to prove depends on whether you hire a lawyer that specializes in personal injury, how much data you can collect from doctors visits, etc., and prove that the whiplash has negatively affected your life in a severe way. Even without these things, you have the right to sue, but you’ll be much less likely to win the lawsuit.