Whiplash occurs when the neck and head are thrown in one direction then swiftly into another, making a whip-like motion. This jerking motion can easily injure the neck’s soft tissues, causing whiplash.
This type of injury is commonly associated with rear-end automobile accidents. When a vehicle is rear-ended, the body is thrown forward. It then reaches an abrupt stop, which forces the head and neck to whip to a stop, too.
Although these injuries are internal and not always immediately apparent, they can be severely painful. Because of this, our West Palm Beach car crash injury attorneys may be able to help you recover compensation for your injury and the effects it has had on your life.
Common Symptoms of Whiplash
Whiplash injuries can range from mild to very severe. Some of the most common symptoms whiplash victims experience include:
- Stiff neck
- Neck pain
- Limited motion in the neck
- Blurry vision
- Back pain
- Sleep disruptions
- Pain in the arms or legs
Whiplash is not outwardly visible like a bruise or laceration, but it can still cause serious pain and disruption to your life.
What to Do If You Suspect a Whiplash Injury
If you have been involved in a car accident or other incident and suspect you may have suffered whiplash, it is critical that you follow the important steps below. These actions will support your whiplash injury claim, helping you recover maximized compensation for your injuries.
Obtain Medical Care
Car accident injuries can be difficult for the victim to immediately detect. Adrenaline is flowing following an accident, which can mask symptoms of whiplash or other injuries initially.
It can take days following an accident for whiplash symptoms to become noticeable. Because of this, it is very important to always seek the care of a qualified medical professional following a car accident.
This will ensure your injuries are properly diagnosed. You will also receive immediate treatment, helping to improve your recovery.
Obtaining medical care after an accident is also valuable to your whiplash injury claim. The care you seek will establish a link between the accident and the whiplash injury you suffered. This medical documentation will prevent insurers from claiming the whiplash injury was caused by another incident, and not the accident they may have to pay compensation for.
For these reasons, you should never decline medical treatment after a car accident.
Keep Documents and Expense Records
Keep thorough records throughout your medical treatment for a whiplash injury. Obtain medical documentation and physician’s reports from all medical practitioners you see related to your injury, including in the emergency room, any specialists, chiropractors or other medical professionals.
Obtain copies of any imaging used to diagnose or treat your whiplash injury. This may include X-rays, CT scans or MRIs. If blood tests or other lab work was conducted, obtain copies of the reports with the results.
Just as medical documentation works to link your injury to the accident, these documents also work to justify the treatment prescribed to you, showing what was medically necessary to treat your injury.
It is critical that you comply with the prescribed treatment – this will show the severity of your injury, shorten recovery and demonstrate your compliance with doctors’ orders, showing that you did not deviate from treatment and worsen your injury.
In addition to medical documentation, you will also want to keep expense records of your treatment, which may include:
- Emergency room treatment
- Specialist visits including co-pays you paid
- Prescribed medications
- Physical therapy expenses
- Medical devices needed for your treatment, like a neck brace
If you have made payments or paid off accident-related expenses, always keep a receipt as proof of your payment.
This documentation will support the damages you have incurred due to your injury and provide proof of your payments for reimbursement.
Record the Accident
Evidence of the accident itself will also be vital to supporting your whiplash injury claim. Once you are medically able to do so, compile evidence pertaining to the incident that caused your whiplash injury.
Some items you should obtain include:
- Photos of the accident scene, including vehicle damage, traffic signals and road conditions
- Photos of your injuries
- Statements from witnesses, including their contact information
- A copy of the accident report filed by responding law enforcement – ask the responding officer how to obtain this document
- Your personal statement of the events – write down all details you remember about the accident itself and the time immediately before it
- Your personal statements regarding your injuries – keep detailed notes about how your whiplash injury affects your day-to-day life
Filing an Insurance Claim for Whiplash Injuries
After a car accident, you should begin the insurance claims process as soon as you are medically able to do so. Taking care of this right away prevents delays in receiving the compensation you deserve.
An insurer’s goal is to limit its payout to you, so you should always be careful when speaking to an insurance adjuster and providing information.
- Know that anything you say to an adjuster could be used against you, as evidence to limit compensation or deny your claim entirely.
- Stick to the facts, never give estimates of details or exaggerate what happened.
- If you are asked to complete a written or recorded statement, obtain the advice of a car accident injury lawyer before doing so.
- Never accept an insurance settlement offer without consulting an attorney. An attorney will work to ensure the settlement is fair and accurately compensates you for the actual damages incurred due to the accident. Never accept an offer below the value of the actual expenses related to your medical care and other damages due to the accident.
Legal Help Filing a Whiplash Injury Claim
If you are injured in a car crash, including whiplash injuries, it is always in your best interest to speak with an experienced car accident lawyer. Our attorneys can help you:
- File your insurance claim
- Work with the insurance company on your behalf
- Gather the evidence to support your claim
- Help ensure your claim represents the true value of your injury
- File a lawsuit if you having trouble obtaining the compensation you deserve
The attorneys at Gordon & Doner offer free, no obligation consultations to review the details of your claim. Contact us today to learn more. We will not charge any fees or upfront costs unless we recover compensation for you.
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