Whiplash is a common injury that occurs after an auto accident. Even if the accident was minor and you don’t feel pain or discomfort right away, you could still be hurt. And, it’s important to understand the dynamics of whiplash and what you can do about it in the aftermath.
Rear end accidents, even at low speeds, are the number one culprit for whiplash injuries. Insurance companies pay out billions of dollars per year for these injuries because they can cause severe pain and suffering. Not to mention lost wages or other financial pitfalls from medical bills and other costs.
Whiplash can be a serious injury that requires not only medical attention but also legal advice. In this article, we’re discussing how to file a whiplash compensation claim and why you should. Keep reading to learn more.
What is a Whiplash Injury?
Whiplash can occur anytime your head or neck is jolted, such as with a rear-end vehicle collision. Hyperflexion occurs when the head is jerked forward and hyperextension happens when jerked sideways. As with any injury, there are varying degrees of intensity and pain associated with these harsh movements.
You can experience anything from joint dysfunction and disc herniation that causes chronic pain, to cognitive dysfunction that impairs your ability to focus or think clearly.
The legal term for this type of injury is a ‘soft tissue injury’ to the neck. It can also be noted as a neck strain or sprain.
Whiplash compensation claims are relatively commonplace when it comes to auto accidents. But, you’ll need to make sure to follow the proper steps ahead of time to ensure that your claim is taken seriously.
The first thing you need to do after an auto accident is to contact the police and your insurance company as well as the party at fault’s insurance company. It’s important that the event is documented right away or the insurance company may try to argue that your injuries are not serious in order to avoid paying a claim.
Even if you don’t feel pain at the scene, or immediately thereafter, you could have injuries that won’t surface until days later. Make sure to pay a visit to your doctor for observation no matter how minor the accident. Your whiplash compensation will be based on your diligence and the severity of your injuries.
Claiming Whiplash Compensation
The next step to consider after you’ve seen your doctor and contacted the insurance companies is to retain legal counsel. A lawyer can help you follow proper procedures and get the compensation you deserve.
There are several aspects to consider when filing a whiplash compensation claim.
Some accidents, such as rear-end collisions are easy to define who was at fault. Other times, it can be difficult to ascertain. For this reason, insurance companies make it a point to use crash diagrams and witness testimonials in order to determine a payout on a claim.
This is why it’s so important to file a police report after an accident. You should try to get as much documentation relating to the accident as possible and seek medical treatment right away.
Insurance companies pay close attention to how long after the accident you sought medical care. Don’t just go to the emergency room because they may deem your injuries minor according to what they see at the time. Remember that a whiplash injury can take a few days to manifest.
If your doctor recommends medication or physical therapy, make sure you follow through with those instructions. The insurance company will verify your treatment and other options before paying your claim.
Depending on the severity of your injuries will also depend on the amount of your whiplash compensation claim. If your injuries are severe, you’ll get a higher payout. Likewise, if the insurance company finds that your injuries were not severe, they may try to settle the claim for less than adequate compensation.
Don’t forget to document your injuries and keep track of how they affect your daily routine and lifestyle.
Insurance companies will deem your injuries more severe based on the amount of time it takes you to recover. The longer they take to heal, the more compensation you’ll likely get for pain and suffering. If your injuries are not deemed severe due to recovery time, you might consider seeking damages from the other party.
If you’re able to progress through each day without interruption due to your injuries, the insurance company will consider your injury to be minor. They want to know how the crash impacts your daily life in relation to your pain and general activities.
On the other hand, if your daily routine is impacted in such a way that you are unable to perform regular functions, your claim is more likely to be supported.
The claims process for whiplash compensation takes some time. If you don’t have a lawyer, you can expect to be in constant contact with the insurance company. If you do obtain a lawyer, they can take care of most of these communications for you.
You’ll likely have to meet with an insurance adjuster who will review your vehicle for damages. The insurance company will also request medical records and any other documentation related to the accident before considering payment on a claim.
Filing a whiplash compensation claim doesn’t have to be scary and overwhelming. Just keep these tips in mind in case you’re ever involved in an accident where injuries are sustained. And, don’t wait to see a doctor after the accident has occurred.
It’s a good idea to keep a journal of your injuries and financial losses incurred from your accident. This journal can be used to support your claim and keep the insurance company from settling for less than you deserve. Make note of lost wages, transportation expenses, medical bills, and any other thoughts you have related to the case.
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