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:
Q: How Can I Keep 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.
Q: Who is in Fault States or in Tort States?
A: 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.
Q: How to Prove Negligence?
A: 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.
According to the Association for Safe International Road Travel, approximately 2.35 million people are injured or disabled in vehicle accidents in the United States each year. Among the top causes of vehicle accidents are distracted driving, speeding, improper turns, dangerous curves, and the weather. Many times the injuries sustained are minor, but some can be serious and long-lasting.
Soft Tissue Injuries
Injuries to muscles, tendons, and ligaments are soft tissue injuries. One of the most common is whiplash. This happens when someone is in a rear end collision. The neck and head are jerked forward and backward quite violently. The medical term for this is “hyper-extension injury” or “cervical strain or sprain”. Other soft tissue injuries include sprains, strains, and bruises due to the impact that is experienced when vehicles collide.
An injury to the soft tissue can be very painful. There is often stiffness, bruising, swelling, and soreness. In a vehicle crash, particularly one that is severe, the force of the collision can cause drivers and passengers to be jolted and thrown around inside the automobile quite forcefully.
Soft tissue injuries can often take from six weeks to three months to heal. Depending on your lifestyle, even after three months you can still experience some pain. You may not be able to totally return to the activities you enjoyed before the injury. If there is still pain after three months, you could have chronic soft tissue injuries.
Even if you are not experiencing any of these symptoms initially it is important to seek medical attention. Sometimes it may take two or three days for the symptoms to appear. Soft tissue injuries left untreated can cause chronic pain.
Q: What are the Steps to Take Immediately After a Collision?
A: Another reason to seek medical attention immediately is so there is a record of the injury. If you need to seek compensation for your injuries, this is an important step. Whether the symptoms appear immediately or a couple of days later, it is likely that you will not be able to work or resume your normal activities for awhile. The loss of income for even six weeks can be a problem, particularly if you are the primary wage earner.
A record of the injury is crucial to receiving compensation. Since soft tissue injuries do not show up on x-rays or other typical diagnostic methods, it is imperative that a medical professional examine you and note your symptoms as well as medications that were prescribed.
Talking to an attorney is another important step. An experienced lawyer can assess your case and advise you on seeking compensation. The insurance company for the driver at fault will try to prove that you do not have an injury. This relieves them of any responsibility of paying compensation for your injuries. They may try to settle with you for a lesser amount than you deserve. A personal injury lawyer can protect your rights.
Q: What are the Types of Compensation for Soft Tissue Injuries?
A: When an insurance adjuster offers you less than you deserve for your injuries, a personal injury law can represent you in court. There are several types of compensation that you may be entitled to for your injuries. One is loss of wages as a result of your injury. Depending on the amount of time you are unable to work, this could be a substantial amount. If you are disabled due to the injuries you may be entitled to “loss of earning capacity”. This is future wages that you would have earned if you had not been disabled by the accident.
Medical care costs are expensive, and you can receive compensation for the medical care you have already received. You may also receive money for ongoing care that you will require in the future due to the accident. If your vehicle was damaged you can receive money for any repairs that are needed or if it was damaged beyond repair, the value of the vehicle.
Pain and suffering is another type of compensation you could receive. This includes during the accident, presently, and future pain. Loss of enjoyment is yet another damage that can be claimed. If your injury prevents you from enjoying activities or hobbies that you participated in the past, you may receive damages for this as well.