There is no one-size-fits-all answer to how much whiplash is worth in a lawsuit. The damages you can seek largely depend on your situation, namely, the severity of your condition and the treatment you required.
For a more accurate estimate of your case’s value, you could contact a personal injury attorney. They can assess your damages’ value and explain what constitutes a fair settlement offer. They can also manage other aspects of your case, from its initial filing to negotiations.
These Factors Can Affect How Much Whiplash Is Worth in a Lawsuit
Without reviewing your case, there’s no way to know how much you can seek through a lawsuit. Yet, these factors can help your lawyer calculate your losses and determine a fair settlement value:
How Much the Injury Will Affect Your Life?
While whiplash injuries usually clear up on their own within a few weeks, sometimes, they last longer. In these cases, the injured party might not have the ability to participate in activities they once enjoyed. They might not be able to work full-time, either.
A personal injury lawyer will weigh these factors when learning what you’re owed:
- Whether you need assistive devices (like a wheelchair) to complete daily tasks
- Whether you can continue working (and, if so, in what capacity)
- Whether you can live independently or require around-the-clock assistance
Your lawyer may also determine whether any conditions accompanying whiplash affect your overall health. For instance, if you developed mental health complications, you could struggle with fatigue, anxiety, and depression. All of these things could factor into how much you can seek.
The Treatment You Need for Recovery
When someone sustains a whiplash injury that requires treatment, it could impact the compensation they could recover. Not only are treatments difficult to go through physically and emotionally, but they are also costly. Yet, the more treatments you required, the more your case could be worth.
Your whiplash injury may have necessitated:
- Physical therapy
- Over-the-counter medications
- Prescription medications, such as painkillers
- Chiropractic care
Your lawyer will also consider the anticipated treatment you require when calculating your case’s value. That way, when your case is resolved, you have compensation to account for ongoing care costs.
The Physical Pain You Endured
Many insurance companies write off whiplash as a minor condition that heals on its own. This prompts them to offer low settlements. Yet, whiplash in any form is a serious condition. Whiplash can last for years, affecting one’s mobility, working capacity, and more.
The more pain you endured, the more you could request from the liable party. A lawyer can put your pain in dollar terms once they evaluate your situation.
The Liable Party’s Insurance Policy
The liable party’s insurance policy may have limits on how much you can seek. So, if your losses are worth $50,000, but the policy only covers $30,000, this could ultimately affect how much you could recover. Still, nobody should have out-of-pocket expenses after an accident another party caused. So, your lawyer may opt to file a lawsuit, where there’s no limit on how much they could request.
Recoverable Damages for Whiplash Injury Victims
The cost of your compensable damages can determine how much your whiplash lawsuit is worth. Examples of recoverable damages in these cases include:
Medical bills can add up when someone sustains whiplash.
You could require:
- Emergency room treatment
- Ambulance transportation
- Doctors’ visits
- Rehabilitative care
- Over-the-counter or prescription medications
In some cases, people with whiplash could require treatments far into the future. As noted, when this happens, they could recover compensation for future medical bills. An attorney can speak to experts and use various methods to learn what you deserve.
After sustaining a whiplash injury, the injured person could miss work because they cannot physically perform their job duties or require intensive treatment. In either case, they could recover compensation for the income they lost during that time. This can comprise lost wages, tips, bonuses, benefits, and commissions.
In addition to lost income, they can seek compensation for future lost income if they cannot return to work in the same capacity. Through a claim or lawsuit, they could also recover compensation for work benefits they lose, such as health insurance, life insurance, or retirement benefits.
Property Damage Expenses
Since rear-end car accidents are the most common cause of whiplash injuries, the injured party’s vehicle could have sustained damage during the accident. While auto insurance will usually cover the costs to repair a vehicle, sometimes, it doesn’t fully cover those costs. In this case, the injured party could include those losses in their claim or lawsuit.
On top of recovering compensation for property damage, they could also seek to recover their vehicle’s diminished property value. Your lawyer will determine your car’s value before the accident and learn how much it has depreciated since then.
While awaiting compensation from the liable party, you may have spent money out of pocket. For instance, you may have purchased a neck brace to immobilize the injured area. Here, your settlement or court award could offer reimbursement.
Other out-of-pocket expenses may include:
- Childcare costs (such as daycare or hiring a nanny)
- Temporary transportation arrangements, like renting a car or using public transit
- A personal care aide
- The cost of traveling to and from appointments
Pain and Suffering
Whiplash can cause someone to deal with physical pain for a short or extended time. Regardless of how long they dealt with the physical pain, they could recover compensation for having endured it.
People who experienced the following could recover from pain and suffering:
Pain and suffering is a “non-economic damage.” This means there is no inherent monetary value associated with it. Because of this, no documentation indicates how much compensation someone can recover for pain and suffering. Yet, an attorney has the tools necessary to calculate what an injured person deserves for their hardships.
Going through an accident or dealing with painful injuries can cause someone to experience emotional distress. Emotional distress refers to the mental suffering someone experiences because of a particular event.
Emotional distress could include:
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
- Sleep issues
Like pain and suffering, emotional distress is a non-economic loss. An attorney can calculate the value of this loss using specific tools and speaking to experts.
Loss of Enjoyment of Life
Someone can deal with a loss of enjoyment in their life when they suffer an injury that limits their mobility, causes pain, and reduces their income. Someone could also recover compensation if they cannot participate in activities or hobbies they enjoyed before the accident because of their injuries.
Steps That Could Maximize Your Whiplash Injury Settlement
To file a whiplash injury lawsuit, there are steps the injured party can take to give them a fair chance at a successful outcome. These steps include:
Understanding Your Lawsuit’s Filing Deadline
Every state has its deadline for processing and accepting personal injury lawsuits. These deadlines largely depend on the at-fault party and where the accident took place. For instance, you generally only have a few months to file a lawsuit against a government agency. However, against an individual, you could have a few years.
You can learn your case’s filing deadline when you consult a personal injury lawyer. They can listen to your story, explain your deadline, and initiate legal action.
Seeing a Doctor
Sometimes, adrenaline is high after an accident, and someone might not notice they have injuries. Regardless, it is crucial to seek medical attention soon after the accident and receive a physical exam. Prompt treatment can give you a fair chance at a full and straightforward recovery.
Also, a doctor can provide the diagnosis and medical documentation needed to support your personal injury case. Your x-rays, imaging scan results, and other medical information can strengthen your lawsuit.
Adhering to Your Treatment Plan
Visiting a doctor is just one part of your injury case. You must also heed their instructions. Complying with your treatment plan shows the insurer that you’re serious about healing. It also prevents the claims adjuster from alleging that your negligence worsened your condition.
Your doctor may suggest:
- Taking over-the-counter medications
- Receiving injections
- Applying heat or ice to the affected area
- Resting and otherwise limiting your physical activity
Your doctor may also recommend attending physical therapy. Do not shirk this obligation. Again, you don’t want to give the insurer any reason to discredit your condition’s severity.
Refusing to Give a Recorded Statement
Some insurance companies do everything possible to deny liability for whiplash claims. After learning about your case, the liable insurer may ask for a recorded statement. This does not benefit you in any way. Instead, it gives the claims adjuster reason to discredit your claim.
Your lawyer can gather all the information needed for your case to succeed. If the insurer refuses to settle your case in good faith, you can file a lawsuit against the negligent party and request compensation in civil court.
Keeping All Case-Related Evidence
There’s no such thing as a personal injury case with too much evidence. The more information you have to support your case, the more likely you could reach an agreement.
Keep these items as they become available:
- Your treatment plan
- Correspondence between you and the involved parties
- Documentation outlining your missed time from work
- Photos of your physical injuries
- Receipts related to your out-of-pocket expenses
- Videos of the accident (if available)
It’s okay if you don’t have these items. When you partner with a lawyer, they can investigate your accident and gather supporting evidence. They may even consult with third-party witnesses (like healthcare professionals) to learn more about your condition.
A Personal Injury Attorney Can Help Whiplash Victims Through an Injury Case
You’re not alone in your fight for compensation after suffering whiplash. You have the right to partner with a personal injury lawyer who can file your claim and determine how much your whiplash case is worth.
Your attorney can:
Speak With the Involved Parties
Emotions can run high in a personal injury case. You might have anxiety about communicating with the at-fault party or their representatives. Rest assured, this is where a lawyer can step in. They can handle all emails, text messages, and phone calls with the involved parties. That way, you don’t have to feel stressed about responding to messages. You also don’t risk saying anything that could hurt your case’s outcome.
Investigate the Accident
Sometimes, liability in an accident is not apparent. When this happens, investigations are necessary. A Personal Injury lawyer can investigate the accident to determine liability and gather evidence to supplement your case. This information could include the police report, eyewitness testimony, and proof of your damages.
Negotiate a Fair Settlement
Successful personal injury attorneys are aggressive negotiators and have the skills needed to resolve complicated claims. Negotiating a settlement requires evidence and an understanding of the injured party’s losses. Most whiplash cases get resolved through insurance negotiations. This means you likely won’t have to file a lawsuit to recover damages.
Represent You in Court
Some whiplash cases require lawsuits to achieve an outcome. Your personal injury attorney can prepare and present a solid case to seek what you’re owed. This involves understanding civil law, courtroom procedure, and the evidence required.
Explain How Much a Whiplash Case Is Worth
In addition to the many tasks listed above, your lawyer can evaluate your damages and explain how much they’re worth. They consider many factors unique to your situation to learn what you’re owed. The severity of your condition, your estimated recovery period, and your financial losses all determine how much you can seek.
As noted, all states have filing deadlines for civil lawsuits. To preserve your right to compensation through litigation, you should consider seeking legal Personal Injury & Criminal Defense Law Firm in Georgia help as soon as possible.