If you’ve ever been in a car accident or played contact sports, you may already be familiar with whiplash. According to the Spine Research Institute of San Diego, there are over three million cases of whiplash in America every year, and hundreds of thousands of those result in some form of disability.
Despite its prevalence, whiplash is still misunderstood in many ways due to the term being a catch-all for many different specific injuries. So just what is it, and how can you prove it in an injury claim? Read on to find out more.
What Is Whiplash?
Whiplash is defined by the Mayo Clinic as “a neck injury due to forceful, rapid back-and-forth movement of the neck.” Its most common cause is rear-end auto collisions, but contact sports or physical assault are also common causes. Whiplash covers a wide range of injuries, including torn tendons, torn ligaments, spinal column injury, pulled or strained muscles, pinched nerves between the vertebrae, and herniated spinal discs. The condition can be extremely painful and can cause long-term disability in some cases.
Seeking Medical Treatment Is Crucial
In car accidents, whiplash can occur at any speed, including very low speeds. Getting medical attention if you feel any pain, tightness, or discomfort after a car accident is crucial to diagnosing whiplash, as many soft tissue injuries may not appear immediately and could go unnoticed without a professional medical diagnosis. Because whiplash is so common, proving whiplash for an injury claim or lawsuit can be difficult, so it’s important to have medical records to support the claim.
Document Your Injuries and Losses
To successfully claim losses or damages due to a whiplash injury caused by another party, documentation is essential. Keep track of any and all losses, material or otherwise, that relate to the diagnosis. This could be bills for medical care, emergency room costs, lost wages due to missing time at work, insurance copays, prescription drugs, even miles driven to go to and from the doctor’s office.
The more documentation you can provide to an insurance company proving your injury and losses, the more likely your claim for damages will end in a favorable settlement, so make sure and keep track of receipts, medical records, pay stubs, and invoices.
Potential Compensation for a Whiplash Injury
Compensation for an injury is largely based on the severity of the injury and the circumstances of the accident. Injuries that are more severe often result in greater medical expenses and longer recovery times, which means you may be able to demand more in compensation. Compensation can be for economic or non-economic damages and cover a range of different losses, such as:
- Medical costs – This can be any and all monetary losses attributed to treatment for your whiplash, such as diagnosis, prescription medication, emergency transport, rehabilitation, or medical devices.
- Lost wages – If your whiplash forces you to take time off work or forces a member of your family to take time off work to care for you, you can demand restitution for lost wages.
- Lost earning potential – If your whiplash injury causes chronic pain and makes it impossible for you to return to your job, you can seek compensation for lost earning potential.
- Loss of quality of lie – If your whiplash causes a significant reduction in your quality of life by limiting the activities you can participate in for any length of time, you may be able to obtain compensation for this loss.
- Pain and suffering – You may be able to seek recovery for the physical and emotional pain and suffering you’ve experienced as a result of your injury.
- Property damage – If your vehicle or other property was damaged in the accident that injured you, you can pursue coverage for this loss.
How a Personal Injury Lawyer Can Help
Hiring an attorney can help in ways you may not realize. Contact the Iowa personal injury attorneys at Telpner Peterson Law Firm, LLP, today for a free consultation, and we help you determine whether you may be eligible for compensation for your whiplash injury in an injury claim or lawsuit. We will review your accident, examine the evidence, and provide compassionate legal counsel to help you get your life back on track. Call 712-227-6842 for a no-obligation consultation today.