How much you can recover for whiplash through a lawsuit depends on your situation. The severity of your condition, along with the cost of your financial losses, will determine how much you can recover.
During this challenging time, you may opt to partner with a whiplash injury lawyer. They can use their investigative resources to determine your case’s value and advocate for what you deserve. Many offer free consultations.
Factors That Could Affect the Value of Your Whiplash Lawsuit
Many factors affect how much you can recover after suffering whiplash, including:
The Severity of the Injury
The severity of your injury can significantly affect the value of your case. The more serious your condition, the more medical attention you will likely require. What’s more, if you have a serious condition, you likely can’t work, affecting your income stream.
In addition to whiplash, if you sustained other injuries, your case’s value could also rise. While you might originally think you only sustained whiplash, after further testing, you could find out you also suffered a herniated disc. Financial recovery intends to account for the full scope of your accident and injuries.
Your Quality of Life
If you can no longer work in the same capacity or enjoy your life fully, you could seek compensation for those hardships. Granted, evaluating the cost of this expense is tricky, as reduced quality of life doesn’t come with a price tag. Yet, when you work with a lawyer, they can calculate your losses, including those that don’t come with inherent monetary values.
Your Medical Bills
Some whiplash injuries require more intensive care and can take years to fully heal.
In that scenario, you could require:
- Physical therapy
- Pain medications
- Assistive devices (like a neck brace)
You can pursue compensation for each of these damages through a claim or lawsuit. If you partner with a lawyer, they may consult with healthcare professionals to learn more about your past, present, and anticipated care costs.
Your Missed Time From Work
As noted, you can include the cost of your missed time from work in your lawsuit’s value. These can include lost tips, bonuses, benefits, commissions, and income. The more time you miss from work, the more money you could include in your case.
Your Out-of-Pocket Expenses
Suffering whiplash may force you to spend money out of pocket. For instance, if you can’t properly care for your children, you may hire in-home help to supervise them during your recovery. If you require transportation to and from doctors’ appointments, you can seek reimbursement for gas and travel costs.
Using receipts, invoices, estimates, and billing statements, a lawyer can determine what constitutes a fair settlement for your injury-related losses. When it comes to assessing damages such as pain and suffering, they can evaluate various aspects of your life to arrive at a fair value.
Whether You Suffered Additional Injuries
In addition to whiplash, your accident can cause:
- Broken bones
- Nerve damage
- Sprains and strains
- Organ damage
- Internal bleeding
- Spinal cord trauma
- Traumatic brain injuries
The more injuries you have, the more medical attention you could require. Your claim or lawsuit’s value can reflect the medical care you needed to reach maximum medical improvement.
The Extent of Your Property’s Damage
If you suffered whiplash in a motor vehicle accident, you may need your car replaced or repaired. Your settlement or court award could account for these costs. It can also account for the cost of renting a car or using a rideshare service.
Damages You Could Recover After Suffering Whiplash
To recover full compensation for your losses, your attorney will examine the injury’s effect on your life. They’ll consider things like your recovery period, necessary medical treatments, and pain levels. They’ll also consider how your injury could affect your future.
Your lawyer’s findings could reveal that you deserve compensation for:
- Medical expenses: When you suffer whiplash, you could require medications to help ease the pain. Your claim can account for any healthcare expenses.
- Rehabilitative care costs: You could require physical therapy treatments after suffering whiplash. These treatments could increase your range of motion and decrease your pain.
- Lost income: If you had to miss work while your injury healed or because you had a medical appointment, you could seek compensation for the income you lost during that time.
- Loss of future earning capacity: Your whiplash injury may prevent you from working in your current field or maintaining the same number of hours. In that instance, you can seek compensation for any harm to your earning power.
- Pain and suffering: When you suffer whiplash, you can experience physical pain and emotional suffering for some time. Through a claim or lawsuit, you can seek financial recovery for those hardships.
- Other non-economic damages. Non-economic damages, like pain and suffering, don’t have exact dollar values, but they’re still compensable. Examples include disability, scarring, disfigurement, and loss of enjoyment of life.
- Emotional trauma. Mental health complications sometimes accompany whiplash injuries. The publication notes that those who suffer whiplash may also experience anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). These hardships are compensable.
How much you can seek for each of these expenses depends on your situation. Each case comes with its own value, meaning you could recover more or less than someone in the same situation with a similar condition. A lawyer can estimate your losses and pursue them from the liable party.
You Can Pursue Financial Recovery After Suffering One of These Incidents
Rear-end collisions cause most whiplash.
Other incidents can lead to this injury, including:
- Slips, trips, and falls
- Nursing home abuse or neglect
- Medical malpractice
- Contact sports
- Workplace accidents
If another party’s negligence caused your injury, you could recoup compensation. To secure financial recovery, your case must assert that because another party acted carelessly or recklessly, you suffered whiplash and deserve compensation. Again, a lawyer can help you with these tasks. They can gather the evidence needed to bolster your case and secure damages from the liable party.
Handling Communications With the Involved Parties
Your attorney can handle communications with the other party’s lawyers or the liable insurance company. By handling these communications, you can ensure you don’t say anything that could harm your case. Also, you can focus on recovering instead of juggling communications.
Getting support from a trusted legal advocate can ease the stress you feel during this challenging time. An experienced whiplash injury attorney has handled many cases similar to yours and may feel comfortable with the legal process. This could enable them to seek the best possible settlement for your case.
Giving Legal Advice
When you sustain a whiplash injury, you have choices on how to proceed with your case. You could accept the first offer from the liable party or continue to fight for more compensation. An attorney can provide sound legal advice that benefits your situation.
Learning the Cause of Your Whiplash Injury
Whether you got in a car accident or had a slip and fall, your attorney can prove what caused it.
Supporting evidence in your case could include:
- The accident report
- Security camera or traffic camera footage
- Your medical treatment records
- Accident reconstruction data
- Black box data (if applicable)
- Photos of your injuries and the accident scene
- Eyewitness testimony
Gathering this information could prove difficult on your own. When you partner with a lawyer, they can investigate your case and present evidence to the liable party.
Identifying the Liable Party
To learn the liable party, your lawyer must learn what caused your accident. For instance, if you suffered whiplash in a rear-end collision, you could file a claim with the at-fault motorist’s insurer. If you suffered injuries in a slip and fall, you could seek damages from the property owner or their insurance company.
Sending a Demand Letter to the Liable Party
Once your lawyer identifies the liable party, they can send your demand letter. This document outlines the compensation you want and other facts of the case. Your attorney can also include evidence supporting the amount you’re requesting.
Negotiating a Settlement
In a perfect world, the insurance company would accept your demand letter and offer full compensation. Yet, many people have to negotiate for what they need from the liable insurer. This requires your lawyer to present evidence, assert your damages’ value, and establish your condition’s severity. Many cases successfully end with negotiations.
Filing a Lawsuit, if Necessary
If the insurance company refuses to settle (or a lawsuit becomes necessary), your lawyer can represent you in court. They can interview witnesses, partake in the discovery process, and communicate with the defense’s legal team.
When you hire a lawyer, they do everything in their power to secure the financial recovery you need. You don’t have to go through this process alone; you have options that could alleviate your mental health and resolve your case.
Your Whiplash Lawsuit Comes With a Filing Deadline
Every personal injury lawsuit has a filing deadline set by the state.
Your whiplash lawsuit’s deadline depends on:
- How long ago your accident happened
- When you discovered your condition
- The other party involved in your case
- Where you live
- Your age
South Carolina generally gives you three years to file a personal injury lawsuit, with your filing date starting from the day of your accident. Very few exceptions apply to this deadline, so it’s in your best interest to promptly consider legal help. That way, you uphold your right to compensation and recover what you need.
What Should I Do After Suffering Whiplash?
You should seek medical attention if you suspect that you suffered whiplash. Delaying medical care could worsen your condition or otherwise prolong your recovery period. What’s more, you need medical evidence to supplement your claim, such as imaging scans, lab test results, and your doctors’ testimony. This documentation shows the liable party that you suffered injuries and incurred various expenses.
Other post-accident considerations include:
Refusing to Give a Recorded Statement
The insurance company may ask for an on-the-record statement after learning about your claim. Giving the insurance company anything outside of basic information does not serve your interests. This conversation only gives the insurer details that could paint your case in a bad light. When you hire a lawyer, they can give the insurer all the necessary information.
Referring the Claims Adjuster to Your Lawyer
The insurance company can’t contact you directly if you retain legal help. Yet, this may not stop some claims adjusters from reaching out to you anyway. In that instance, you can refer them to your lawyer. Your representative can manage all communications and uphold your right to fair compensation.
Documenting Your Losses
You can help your lawyer evaluate your losses by keeping track of your injury-related receipts, bills, and invoices. While your lawyer can gather these items on their own, keeping these items can streamline your case’s progression.
Considering Your Legal Options
After suffering whiplash, you have legal options——and one of those options involves partnering with an injury lawyer. A personal injury attorney can present your case in the best possible light when looking to recover damages. They can also explain the value of your whiplash injury case after assessing your situation. Because of your state’s statute of limitations, you should consider legal help sooner rather than later.