5 Steps to Build a Whiplash Claim After a Car Accident
Whiplash is defined by the Mayo Clinic as “a neck injury due to forceful, rapid back-and-forth movement of the neck.” Whiplash is a common soft tissue injury resulting from rear-end car accidents. It happens when the head and neck are jerked forward and suddenly brought to a stop.
Whiplash can cause a range of health issues that may last months or years, making it hard to work and earn a living as well as enjoy the things you love to do in life. Medical treatment and physical therapy can be expensive, adding an additional burden as you work toward recovery.
When whiplash results from an accident caused by another driver’s negligence, you may be able to recover compensation through an insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit. Supporting your injury claim by following the five steps below is crucial if you want to have a chance of obtaining compensation.
If you need assistance pursuing your whiplash claim, our attorneys can advise you of your legal options and help you recover the compensation you deserve. Contact us today for a free, no-obligation legal consultation.
1. Seek Medical Care Immediately
You should always seek medical attention immediately, even if you are not experiencing any signs of whiplash. Sometimes it takes hours or days to experience whiplash symptoms, such as:
- Numbness through the arms
- Shoulder, arm, or upper back pain
- Pain when moving your neck
- Limited range of motion in the neck
- Blurred vision
- Ringing in the ears
- Memory issues
- Sleep disturbances
The faster you seek medical attention from a qualified medical professional, the faster your injuries can be treated. Immediate treatment could help prevent your injuries from worsening and possibly speed up your recovery.
Seeking immediate medical treatment is also critical to the success of your claim. It will help prevent insurance companies, judges, and juries from suspecting your claim is not legitimate or that your injury was caused by a preexisting condition.
2. Follow Your Treatment Plan
Always follow the treatment plan prescribed by your doctor. This is important to help you recover quickly and minimize setbacks or other side effects.
Following the treatment plan also demonstrates to insurance companies, juries, and attorneys for the other side that you have a severe injury. Discontinuing treatment could end your chances of recovering compensation or make the process much more contentious, possibly affecting the amount of compensation you receive.
3. File an Insurance Claim
File a claim with the insurance company of the at-fault driver as soon as possible after your injury so you do not miss the insurance company's deadline.
What to say when filing an insurance claim for whiplash:
- Stick to the facts – Give the insurer only the facts, do not speculate or give opinions. Provide the date, time, and place of the accident. You may also tell the insurance company you are receiving medical treatment. Do not give information regarding the severity of your injuries or how much pain you are suffering. If you discuss these kinds of things, you could unintentionally hurt your chances of obtaining compensation.
- Do not admit fault – Do not admit any fault in the accident. While holding fault does not prevent you from receiving compensation, what you say can be used against you by the insurance company. Let the claims process proceed, and the evidence will support how much fault you hold in the accident, if any.
- Do not undergo an independent medical exam – The insurer may tell you that you must see their physician, but you do not need to do so. This doctor works for the insurer and is looking out for the insurance company’s best interests, which is to pay you less or nothing at all for your injury.
4. Collect Evidence
You will need to collect evidence supporting your injury, including:
- Medical records from after the accident - These records will show your diagnosis and help prove the severity of your injury.
- Medical records from before the accident showing your health status - This will help rule out preexisting conditions that could be blamed for the whiplash injury.
- Test results – This includes medical imaging and diagnostic test results showing your injury and the progress of your recovery.
- Documentation of expenses - This includes bills and payment receipts for medical treatment, along with documentation of the time you missed from work when you were receiving treatment or could not perform your duties due to the injury. Having complete documentation of your expenses improves the likelihood that you will be compensated fairly.
5. Seek Legal Assistance
A skilled personal injury lawyer will help you build your case and negotiate with insurers to maximize compensation for your injuries. A lawyer can also guide you in filing a personal injury lawsuit to recover damages if the insurance company does not offer a fair settlement.
Roden Law - Your Car Accident Attorneys
At Roden Law, our experienced personal injury attorneys work with whiplash victims to support their injury claims and maximize compensation for medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. We will guide you through the process while protecting your interests as we fight for the compensation you deserve.
Schedule a free, no-obligation consultation now. We charge no upfront fees and payment is only owed if we recover compensation in your case.