Lawsuit Info Center / Car Accident Lawsuits / Whiplash Car Accidents Settlement Guide

Whiplash Car Accidents Settlement Guide

If you were involved in a car accident and sustained a whiplash injury, you may be entitled to a whiplash settlement from the at fault driver’s insurance company. A whiplash settlement can include financial compensation for your physical injuries, damage to your vehicle, lost wages, and more. While the average whiplash settlement for a whiplash injury that has no complications can range from $2,500 to $10,000, whiplash settlements vary greatly depending on the severity of your injuries.

Understanding Whiplash and Its Impact

Whiplash occurs when the head forcefully snaps back and forth from impact, causing damage to the bones in the spine, disks in the vertebrae, ligaments, tendons, muscles, and the neck’s soft tissues. Whiplash is common in car accidents due to the sudden force that one car impacting another creates on our head and neck, which are unrestrained in a vehicle. The severity of the whiplash injury suffered can help determine the injury claim payout.

The primary method of diagnosing whiplash depends on your symptoms. Making a truthful explanation of what you’re experiencing to a doctor is an important point when receiving treatment. Providing an accurate description will only help your case in the long run. Symptoms that indicate you are suffering from whiplash can include:

  • Neck pain and stiffness
  • Pain that worsens with movement
  • Loss of range of motion
  • Headache at the base of the skull
  • Pain and tenderness in the upper back, neck, and shoulders
  • Tingling and numbness
  • Fatigue

Occasionally, it can take several days for the symptoms of whiplash to manifest themselves fully. As soon as you begin to experience symptoms of whiplash, seek medical attention. Your doctor will be able to give you a diagnosis and treatment plan. Moreover, medical treatment will establish the extent of your injuries to help you receive an adequate whiplash settlement.

Grading the Severity of Whiplash Injuries

When you seek medical attention after an accident for a whiplash injury, there is a specific way that doctors evaluate the severity of the injury. Doctors use a classification system with five levels of severity covering all types of whiplash injuries. Less severe cases of whiplash can be treated with at-home remedies such as ice packs, heating pads, and over-the-counter medication. However, extreme cases of whiplash can lead to chronic health issues that may require extensive physical therapy, medication, and even surgery to correct.

There is also a possibility that whiplash injuries can have chronic, lasting effects. Starting the diagnosis and physical therapy process to treat whiplash as soon as possible is crucial to your long-term health. Additionally, having a medical track record of treatment that you can reference may help you win a whiplash settlement claim that helps offset the financial costs of an accident.

In the case where your whiplash symptoms have become a permanent, or chronic, injury, you should seek compensation. When the long-term effects of whiplash have been adequately documented, it is generally easier to prove financial impact, pain and suffering, and the need for an above-average whiplash settlement. Almost 10% of all Americans suffer from chronic pain due to a whiplash injury caused by a low-speed, rear-impact collision. The evidence supporting your claim will likely result in a higher whiplash car accident settlement paid out to you.

Car Accident Settlement

Calculating Whiplash Settlement Amounts

After you sustain a whiplash injury from an auto accident, there are important steps you need to take to prevent further injury and to ensure you can receive the best offer for whiplash injury compensation. You don’t want to reduce your chances of receiving a fair whiplash settlement for your injuries by not understanding the factors considered in the average settlement for whiplash.

Steps to Take to Get Whiplash Injury Compensation

Immediately after a car accident, there are certain steps to take in order to establish evidence for any type of personal injury car accident claim. Right after the accident, you should:

  • Call law enforcement
  • Take photos of the damage to vehicles
  • Take photos of the accident scene
  • Speak to eyewitnesses
  • Get contact information from involved driver(s) and witnesses
  • Exchange insurance information
  • Seek medical attention

Seeking medical attention as quickly as possible shows that the injury is related directly to the accident and serves as evidence that will establish credibility and make it hard for the insurance company to deny your claim. The other steps also help to create evidence that makes your claim stronger.

When you see a doctor and are diagnosed with a whiplash injury, it’s a good idea to start the personal injury claim immediately. If your car accident happened in a no-fault state, talk to your insurance carrier that day. If you are in a state that allows for personal liability claims after a car accident, contact the at-fault driver’s insurance carrier. Tell them that you plan to file a claim.

If you decide to file a whiplash lawsuit later, you will need to have strong medical records to support your claim. Whiplash injuries are considered skeptically by an insurer or by a jury if you go to trial. It is important to have medical proof that shows you are entitled to a whiplash settlement. This can be hard to do if you do not seek medical attention promptly and may end up decreasing the amount of whiplash injury compensation you are able to receive.

If you reside in a no-fault state, a whiplash settlement could be problematic; there are threshold injury and damage requirements. In at-fault states, you may be able to recover more by filing a whiplash lawsuit. This could include compensation for medical bills, chiropractic adjustments, pain and suffering, and lost wages. Be sure to understand the way that accidents are classified wherever yours took place.

The exact amount of your settlement will vary based on your injuries, the circumstances surrounding the accident, and the type of insurance carried by the party responsible for your accident. Your settlement payout for your whiplash injury can be used to pay for medical bills, regular household expenses that you can’t afford due to missing work, and legal fees.

Whiplash Car Accident Settlements

Factors Affecting Typical Car Accident Settlement Amounts for Whiplash

There are several factors that have a serious impact on the average whiplash settlement amount.When you take these factors into account, you can prepare to negotiate your settlement in your favor and have a better chance of getting a higher whiplash settlement amount.

Severity of Your Injury

The nature of your injury will have a lot to do with the average whiplash settlement you will be entitled to after your accident. The rating level from the doctor and the long-term effects of the injury will need to be presented and proven. When you can do this, then the payout will be higher. Long-term injuries will give the highest amounts.

Usually, strong evidence is required to prove that long-term whiplash injuries exist. If you suffer from obvious long-term effects, it is not as hard to prove the seriousness of your injuries . In some cases, the injured person cannot stay in the courtroom because of the physical pain of the injury. This can indicate to the judge and the jury that the physical damage of the whiplash was significant and requires you to receive more treatments and pain medication. The more documentation you can show, the more likely you are to convince the judge and jury. An attorney working with a physician may be able to explain how the severe whiplash occurred and how serious injuries put additional strain on other parts of the body, which may be beneficial to you if you have to go to court.

Property Damage

It can be difficult to show evidence of a whiplash injury, as they do not present well on traditional medical imaging. This leaves many jurors to turnto vehicle damage to determine the amount of whiplash settlements.

Pain & Suffering Associated with Whiplash

When whiplash causes permanent damage or pain, this will influence the amount of the average whiplash settlement and increase the possibility of the amount being higher, especially when it inhibits your quality of life.

The severity of your injury and its impact on your day-to-day life determines the multiplier used for your case. Medical bills are assigned a number from one to five based on the amount used to account for any pain and suffering. This will enhance the value of your whiplash injury compensation. Also taken into account are any negative effects your whiplash injury has had on your lifestyle. This includes not being able to do what you enjoy, help your family around the house, play with your kids, or otherwise live your life how you did before the accident.

The Types of Vehicles Involved

The type of vehicle involved in your whiplash car accident will affect your whiplash claim. IWhen you are on a motorcycle, you may be entitled to more compensation due to the lack of evidence needed to prove pain and suffering when you are a motorcyclist in certain jurisdictions.

Car accidents involving big rig vehicles are also extremely serious, especially if you experience neck pain after your car accident. Because many larger trucking companies keep very good insurance on their drivers and vehicles , whiplash car accidents involving big rigs generally have much higher whiplash settlement payout due to the risk and danger involved with such a large vehicle crash.

Who Was Negligent?

To receive a whiplash settlement for pain and suffering, you must be able to prove negligence on the part of another driver. The opportunity for a whiplash settlement is diminished when the other driver is not fully at fault. If you were responsible or partially to blame for the accident that caused your whiplash injury, your chances of receiving any sort of whiplash settlement payout plummet. It is important to know the rules of your state as the determination of fault will vary from state to state, and this may mean you need to contact your insurance company for compensation.

Additionally, if a drunk driver was responsible for the accident, your whiplash settlement may be impacted. The amount of whiplash injury is likely to increase when the other driver is found to be under the influence, contributing to your injury. The average whiplash settlement is higher in this type of car accident, as punitive damages may come into play.

The At-Fault Driver’s Insurance Coverage

Most insurance companies will pay a reasonable whiplash injury claim when you have the evidence to prove your case. But the most important factors when trying to determine how much your settlement claim may be worth are the types of injuries and accidents the other driver’s insurance plan covers. This can sometimes be harder to figure out, but some research or a free consultation with an attorney can answer some of the more complex compensation questions.

How Much is the Average Whiplash Settlement?

Average whiplash settlements will vary depending on your jurisdiction, the severity of your injury, and the culpability of the other driver. In most mild to moderate cases, the average settlement for whiplash in a car accident will be between $2,500 and $10,000. More serious cases that require physical therapy for several months can result in a settlement of $30,000 or more.

Neck injuries that go beyond normal soft tissue damage to affect the nerves or vertebra can end up with a whiplash settlement beyond $100,000. This is one of the reasons that it is crucial to see a medical professional following your whiplash car accident and to follow through with any recommendations for treatment or therapy. Having a full understanding of the injury and treatment also helps to show the financial impact of the car accident injury.

In some cases, severe neck injuries or neck injuries in conjunction with concussions or other brain injuries have settled for six and seven-figure sums. In cases where you have suffered from multiple severe whiplash injuries or complications, you may consider talking to an attorney. Professional legal assistance will ensure you get the amount that you are entitled to if you believe you deserve a higher settlement amount.

Remember: The sooner you tell the insurance company of your intent, the more seriously they will take you. If you wait weeks to file a whiplash injury claim, it will be viewed suspiciously. But starting the claim right away does NOT mean you should accept a low whiplash settlement.

Generally, the more severe your whiplash injuries are, the higher the whiplash compensation payouts are.

For example, consider what would happen if you were at a red light and were rear-ended by another driver, You suffered a whiplash injury to your back and neck resulting in immediate pain. Your treatment would last approximately three months and incur around $5,000 in medical bills.

Now let’s say you couldn’t work for a month, and you make $10,000 per month, and your car repair bills were $2,000. This adds another $12,000 you can claim for lost wages and property damage. In this particular case, the average whiplash settlement ends up being between $8,000 and $15,000 in compensation for medical bills. Add this to the $12,000 in damages, and you are looking at a $21,000 to $28,000 whiplash settlement.

Whiplash and Concussions

When the head is jerked back and forth, the brain bounces around in the skull, not only causing whiplash but potentially resulting in concussions due to the physics of what happens to the body and head in a collision.

Symptoms of a concussion after a whiplash injury include headache, nausea, vomiting, trouble concentrating, lightheadedness, and disorientation. Symptoms of whiplash after a car accident can be similar in some instances, leading doctors to sometimes misdiagnose or miss one of the injuries altogether.

While whiplash symptoms can develop days or even weeks after the accident, a concussion should be evident quickly after the impact of the car accident. If at any point after your accident, you experience neck or back pain or stiffness, difficulty moving your head, or headache at the base of the skull, these could indicate a concussion, and you need to get medical attention quickly.

A concussion is a mild brain injury and should be taken seriously. If not treated properly, there is a chance that you can develop long-term side effects similar to whiplash. Post-concussion, you can have dizziness, fatigue, headaches, and difficulty concentrating, affecting your daily living and quality of life. This is even more true when the effects last weeks or months. If this is the case for you, you should make sure to document, as it could add a lot of value to a whiplash injury compensation claim. A concussion can cause lost wages, diminished quality of life, and lowered earning capacity, so you need to include any relevant information when you claim compensation, whether in court or through negotiation.

Negotiating Your Settlement

One of the best ways to begin a claim for compensation due to whiplash is to write a demand letter to the other driver’s insurance company. This strategy works when you are not at fault, or partially at fault in shared fault states. If you are found at fault, then you need to call your own insurance to walk you through the process.

Writing a Demand Letter

Writing a demand letter is the way to formally start negotiations with an insurance company. It is easily done on your own, especially when the accident you were involved in and the associated injuries are minor. You want to make sure the letter you write includes a summary of the events and why you should receive whiplash injury compensation, a reasonable settlement amount, and the evidence that supports your claim and request for compensation.

The insurance company might also try to lowball you at first, but stick to the amount you see as fair and reasonable, and you might be surprised. Most insurers want to settle without a court battle, which is a factor that plays in favor of negotiation.

A reasonable request refers to a combination of economic and non-economic compensation. Economic compensation is all the financial hardship and payments you had to suffer as a direct result of the accident and your injury. This includes:

  • Doctor visits
  • Medical imaging
  • Chiropractic care
  • Car repairs
  • Lost wages
  • Financial loss due to diminished capacity
  • Over-the-counter treatments
  • Future medical needs
  • Potential for ongoing care
  • Pain and suffering

Make sure you have documentation for anything that costs you out of pocket related to the care of your injury. You need to be able to show proof of anything that is considered part of economic compensation.

Non-economic payment is related to the less tangible idea of pain and suffering. This is more important when there is a permanent injury or chronic problem that is the result of a whiplash injury. Pain and suffering include a loss of capacity and diminished ability to enjoy the activities you once did or to be the same kind of spouse or parent you once were. Try to keep a record so you can show the insurance how you have been affected and why pain and suffering should be a part of your whiplash settlement.

Based on all these factors, you can come up with a reasonable settlement amount to request from the insurer. They often will not want to accept the initial request and may offer less, but again, you should have a good idea of what your injury is worth and what you are willing to settle for. The company has ten days from the date they receive your demand letter to respond in writing and inform you of any decisions or next steps. If there is no agreement, then it may be time to get an experienced attorney to help you file a lawsuit.

Actual Car Accident Whiplash Settlement Amounts

Here are some examples we’ve seen of whiplash car accident settlements payouts:

$1.75 Million whiplash settlement – A man who sustained severe whiplash, a concussion, and multiple injuries after being T-Boned by a commercial vehicle on a neighborhood roadway won a rather large whiplash settlement. Because this accident involved a commercial vehicle, the law firm was able to negotiate for a higher settlement amount than they otherwise would. Because they’re so much bigger than other cars on the road and, with that, have the ability to do tremendous damage, commercial vehicles are generally required to carry much better insurance than we do on our personal vehicles, and drivers often go through training; which means that when they are involved in a crash, the cases are handled with much more scrutiny. Because the injuries were so severe and the accident involved a semi-truck, it was one of the few multi-million dollar whiplash settlements.

$10,000 whiplash settlement – This was a whiplash settlement of $10,000 when a woman in Illinois was crossing through an intersection. Accidents involving pedestrians are often taken much more seriously by insurance companies, especially if you experience neck pain after a car accident. An experienced law firm was able to fight for this client against the insurance company to make sure she received the whiplash settlement amount she was entitled to for her medical care, lost time off work, and pain and suffering.

$1 million whiplash settlement – A man obtained a $1,000,000 recovery after being hit by a drunk driver that fled the scene of the accident immediately after the impact, causing whiplash and a traumatic brain injury. Unfortunately, accidents involving drunk drivers are fairly common, and in most cases involving a drunk driver, the settlement amount will be higher than if the at- fault driver hadn’t been drinking.

$200,000 whiplash settlement – A driver in an SUV ran a stop sign, hitting another driver in a pickup truck from behind. The victim’s vehicle flipped over several times. Liability was clear, and there was no comparative negligence on the injured driver. The injured man suffered a head injury when the truck rolled. He also suffered neck, shoulder, and leg injuries . He went to a spine and rehab center in South Florida for evaluation a few days after the accident. He suffered from radiating pain in his mid-back and neck. His pain level was 9 out of 10. Bending and twisting his body and turning his head made his pain worse. The exam showed he had less range of motion and muscle spasms in the spine. He also had a cervical neck strain and sprain, a thoracic strain and injury, and a neck contracture. There was only $10,000 of coverage for bodily injury on the careless driver’s insurance and $100,000 on the injured driver’s uninsured driver coverage. The case settled for $200,000.

Many whiplash claims end up settling rather than in court. Again, typical whiplash settlements can vary greatly. But there is no assurance that your claim will settle. The insurance company may deny your whiplash claim or could offer you a very low settlement. In these cases, your best course of action could be to file a whiplash lawsuit.

The Role of Legal Assistance

Consulting with a qualified and dedicated motor vehicle accident attorney to determine if you are entitled to a whiplash injury settlement is always a good idea. Most personal injury attorneys offer free consultations and will let you know whether or not you have a claim and how much your auto accident settlement may be worth.

When you meet with a well-qualified attorney you should discuss financial compensation and your personal injury case. Discuss all the facts of the case and make sure to be honest to get a fair projection from the attorney about how they can help. They will help you understand the way that whiplash injury claims payout, which will cover your physical injuries, damage to your vehicle, lost wages, and more. In this case, it’s good to know the average whiplash settlement payout in order to understand the total financial impact this type of injury can have on you and your family.

In most cases, these appointments are free and non-binding, allowing you to meet with several lawyers to determine the best professional for the job. What’s more, many car accident lawyers work on a contingency-fee basis, meaning you won’t pay anything unless the firm recovers a whiplash settlement on your behalf.

An attorney is especially helpful when you need to take the claim to court through a lawsuit. A lawyer will help you file and will be there every step of the way to give you realistic expectations and do much of the hard work associated with a court case. An attorney also knows how certain factors appear when in court. A legal professional has knowledge about the way certain factors will affect the whiplash settlement you seek, including:

  • How believable you are as a witness
  • The strength of any other witness testimony
  • Whether the jury understands your injuries
  • The nature and length of your medical treatment
  • The argument and witnesses for the defense
  • The medical professional that you choose for your whiplash injury treatments will also impact you in court. (A jury is much more likely to award someone seeing their primary care physician than a chiropractor, regardless of the level of care.)

It’s tough to be your own advocate. The insurance company will look for any reason possible to deny your claim. While we’d like to believe these corporations have our best interests in mind, the reality is that they’re out to turn a profit and satisfy shareholders. Without proper legal representation, fighting for a whiplash settlement can feel like an uphill battle. It’s always a good idea to explore your legal options before pursuing compensation from a negligent driver and their insurance company.

Documenting Your Case

Many whiplash claims are viewed skeptically, so you will need to have good documentation to receive fair compensation. It is important to document all expenses that you have incurred. For example, medical expenses and lost time from work. The insurance adjuster will require proof to support your claim. This requires sufficient documentation. When we say keep records of everything, we mean everything. Anything you consider a cost related to the accident and your resulting whiplash injury settlement should have some documentation to go with it. This includes damages, lost wages, and current and predicted future medical costs. You also need to document any factors that will elevate the value of the compensation you are entitled to.

Documentation is also necessary when you send a demand letter or eventually file a lawsuit. Basically, the more evidence you have, the stronger your claim will be and the more likely you will receive fair compensation for your injury. If you have a strong case, the insurance company is less likely to offer you a low amount for your whiplash settlement. Start documenting from the moment after the accident, and you will be better off when it comes to this part of the claim.

Keeping a journal is another way to help document the claim. This can help significantly when you are trying to prove pain and suffering and will allow the insurance company or the court to see the daily impact that a whiplash injury has had on you and your family. This type of record-keeping may sound tiresome, but it will more than likely help you in the long run.

Also, remember that if you end up filing a lawsuit, it is often very hard to prove a whiplash injury through medical imaging, which may lead a jury to decide solely based on the property damage that was a result of the car accident. You don’t want to miss out on a higher whiplash settlement amount, so having as much documentation as possible will help prevent this from happening.


A whiplash injury can be incredibly painful. Dealing with the aftermath doesn’t have to be. If you remember key things about the average whiplash settlement and how to go about your own claim, the process can be fairly painless. The importance of documenting everything, proper medical care, the impact on daily life, and the potentially lasting effects of a whiplash injury will all impact the amount you request and what you receive.

Remember not to let the insurance company talk you into taking less than is reasonable, and know how to build a strong case in favor of what you should get. You should also remember when it may be time to get in touch with a lawyer for help as opposed to taking on the demand letter on your own. With the average whiplash settlement between $2,500 and $10,000, you should be able to get a fair settlement payout. You may also be entitled to much more. Whiplash might have shaken you up, but it shouldn’t end up shaking you down when you’re injured in a car accident.

Frequently Asked Questions about car accident settlements

Whiplash Settlements

Unlike many other car accident injuries, whiplash injuries are classified by grade of severity, with 0 being almost no injury at all and grade 3 being the most severe whiplash injury possible. As with most car accident settlements, the severity of the injury suffered in the crash will have the biggest and most direct impact on the amount of compensation you’re entitled to. With whiplash injuries after a car accident, it’s helpful to look at some average payouts for whiplash grade 3, 2, and 1. You can safely assume if you have a grade 0 whiplash injury that your settlement will probably be a thousand dollars or less, which is usually something you can handle yourself without hiring an attorney.

Here are the whiplash payouts by grade: for each of the 3 whiplash injury grades, excluding 0.

Grade 3 Whiplash Average Payout: $10,000-$20,000, sometimes more. The payout for grade 3 whiplash is largely dependent on whether or not there are neurological symptoms going along with the whiplash injury.

Grade 2 Whiplash Average Payout: $5,000-$10,000. The amount of compensation you’ll receive for a grade 2 whiplash injury will probably be under $10,000, but might be higher in some cases depending on how difficult it is to do things like sleep or turn your head. Someone who can’t sleep well for 6-12 months (not uncommon with a moderate whiplash injury) will likely get a decent pain and suffering multiplier, and a high earner who can’t work for awhile may lose out on over $10k in income alone.

Grade 1 Whiplash Average Payout: $2000-$5000: These more mild whiplash injuries will usually have payouts of less than $5,000 due to the relatively short recovery time. Usually after an initial doctor or ER visit, the only medical bills will be some chiropractic appointments and maybe a neck brace or some pain meds.

Yes, you can get whiplash from a side impact crash or T-bone collision. Whiplash occurs when the victims head and neck is jolted rapidly in a quick forward and reverse motion causing pain, stiffness, headaches and dizziness.

Because of the absence of safety features installed in the side panels of vehicles, side impact collisions cause a large variety of injuries. Some common injuries sustained from a side impact collision include:

  • Whiplash
  • Back injuries
  • Shoulder injuries
  • Hip and leg injuries
  • Paralysis
  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Muscle and ligament tears
  • Chest and rib injuries

Most whiplash injuries are what are considered to be soft tissue injuries. Most whiplash injuries suffered in car accidents are considered mild to moderate injuries. These would be defined as injuries that involve days, weeks or months of discomfort and recovery. But rehabilitation and full recovery are generally possible within 6-12 months in the vast majority of whiplash cases.

But severe whiplash can occur in car accidents, and the results can be devastating. If a car is struck at high enough speed, extreme whiplash can result. This might lead to the cervical bone to fracture. This bone protects your spinal cord and is connected to the part of the brain that runs your heart beat and breathing. So, if the crash is severe enough, it is possible for whiplash to be fatal.

A fatal whiplash injury, while extremely rare, may also change the landscape of your car accident settlement negotiations. Once an auto accident victim has died from the injuries they suffered in the crash, there may be a different set of rules and/or statute of limitations governing wrongful death car accident claims. Some states wrongful death laws mirror the personal injury and car accident laws in that state, but others differ. It’s helpful to speak with a local car accident attorney who can easily explain the differences to you.

Whiplash is a common neck injury after a car accident. However, filing a claim for compensation for this injury can be problematic. Many insurance companies hold the view that whiplash injuries, which cannot be viewed on x-ray, tend to be exaggerated. As a result of this, many insurance companies will start with a very lowball whiplash settlement offer.

The best way to ensure you will get compensated for your whiplash injury is to get to a doctor immediately after the crash if you feel even a twinge of pain or discomfort in your neck or back. Many serious neck and back injuries after a car accident do not produce symptoms for several hours or days after the crash. Make sure to exchange all information with the at fault driver even if you feel fine as a safety measure in case symptoms pop up later.

But the amount of time someone has to file a whiplash claim, legally speaking, is determined by the statute of limitations for auto accident cases in the state where the accident happened. Most states have a 2 year time limit from the date of the accident to file a claim for whiplash or any other injury you may have suffered in the accident. However some states have a 1 year statute of limitations and a few have 3, 4, and even 5+ year time limits to file your car accident settlement.

Side impact car wrecks are commonly referred to as T-bone accidents. They often have a more severe effect on the body than a frontal or rear end collision. Side impact car accidents kill at least 8000 people per year, more than rear end and frontal collisions combined. The problem with T-bone crashes is drivers and passengers are much less protected by the sheer mass of the front and rear of the vehicle. While there are side protection air bags on cars, violent T-bone collisions can result in very serious injuries. And yes, you can suffer severe whiplash from one of these accidents.

A whiplash injury is a serious injury. The pain and limited motion of this serious neck injury can last weeks, months or years in the worst cases. It is common for car accident victims to have chronic, long term neck pain and headaches for years after a whiplash injury. The nagging, long term pain is usually caused by severe damage to discs, ligaments and neck joints.

If you have a whiplash injury after a car crash, you should get medical attention right away. Getting treatment to reduce pain and swelling immediately will probably reduce the odds of the injury bothering you for months or longer.

If your whiplash goes completely untreated, you could face serious chronic whiplash symptoms:

  • Pain and stiffness in the shoulders and neck
  • Dizziness
  • Lower and upper back pain
  • Jaw pain
  • Serious headaches
  • Numbness and weakness in legs and arms
  • Ears ringing
  • Blurred vision
  • Irritability
  • Problems with memory and concentration

If you do not get prompt medical treatment, your whiplash symptoms could linger for months or longer. See a doctor right away if you have any neck pain from a car accident.

There are some soft tissue injury accident cases where you may be able to represent yourself. If you have a minor soft tissue injury such as whiplash that consists of a sore neck for a few days and little more, this is the type of case that you may be able to handle on your own with the insurance adjuster.

That said, there are many other times where a more serious whiplash injury should involve an attorney on your side, and his expertise will probably net you more money even after he takes his contingency fee. Insurance companies notoriously dislike serious whiplash claims; they involve a lot of doctor visits, chiropractor visits and physical therapy, and the injury does not show on x-rays. So, if your whiplash is causing you weeks or months of pain, you really should hire an attorney.

Some people can effectively handle their own minor car accident settlement without a lawyer. In a whiplash settlement claim where injuries and financial losses are minor, it is possible to handle your own settlement in a more economical fashion than with the use of an attorney. Just keep in mind that your time isn’t free, and the fees that you pay to auto accident attorneys isn’t just for their legal expertise – it’s for the fact that you don’t have to sit on hold with doctors and insurance companies for hours on end!

To understand if you can represent yourself in a car accident whiplash settlement, you need to get a firm idea of how injured you are. One of the challenges with whiplash injuries is they are not seen on conventional x-rays and similar diagnostic screenings. So, proving that you have suffered whiplash on your own can be challenging. If you’re planning on negotiating your whiplash settlement yourself, it’s always a good idea to see a physician as soon as possible after the crash. The doctor will note your level of pain and injury in your back and neck, and probably assign a grade of whiplash to your injury. With this information, you may be able to show the insurance company making payment that you have suffered more serious whiplash.

The next step in the process would be to write a whiplash settlement demand letter and send it to the at fault driver’s insurance company. Be sure to include any and all medical records & bills as well as receipts for the damage to your car. If you had to miss work because of the injuries or subsequent doctor visits be sure to calculate how much money you’ll be giving up by missing work. If your daily life and activities have been impacted in any way, you should also factor in a pain & suffering multiplier in your car accident settlement claim. But remember, insurance companies are notorious for denying or reducing whiplash claims. So, in a more serious case, you still may consider hiring an attorney to represent you.

Whiplash is a serious soft tissue neck injury that happens in a car accident. The head of the victim is suddenly thrown forwards and backwards. Many people who are in rear end car accidents will suffer whiplash, and some of these accidents can be relatively minor.

Typically, a whiplash injury has a slow onset period. Many accident victims are unaware that they suffered any injury at all until possibly hours or days after the crash. Because of this fact, many accident victims do not seek treatment. They hope the pain will not last long and they will start to feel better in a few days or weeks.

This is not a good decision. A whiplash injury can linger for weeks, months or years, depending upon the speed of the crash and severity of the injury. Even with serious whiplash injuries, it is possible for the accident victim to feel no pain for 12 hours or more. So, it is important to be checked out by a doctor as soon as possible after the accident.

Whiplash is a neck injury that occurs by the sudden forward and backward motion of the head. Most commonly, whiplash occurs in a car accident when one car hits another from behind, also known as a rear end collision. Whiplash is a common injury that result even after a minor car accident.

A minor crash can cause whiplash if the vehicle comes to sudden and full stop. Rear end collisions are the most likely reason a whiplash injury can occur in a minor car accident. The amount of force pushes into the car seats and this jolts the occupants’ heads forward and backward suddenly. The head rest can help to reduce this jolting motion when the head is traveling backwards, but usually most of the damage has been done.

If you have suffered a whiplash injury in a minor accident, it is critical to be examined by a doctor as soon as possible after the incident. Getting your injury detailed by a doctor will be very important for making a claim later. Insurance companies are notorious for low payouts for whiplash settlements. Because they don’t show up on x-rays or MRI scans and don’t have any external signs of injury like stitches or bruising, average whiplash settlements are often smaller than other average car accident settlement amounts.

Generally, each State will have the same guidelines regarding whiplash however, each State has their own laws. Specifically the statute of limitations when filing a claim against personal injuries will vary from State to State. That is why it’s important to seek medical attention immediately, report your injuries and file a claim within 2 years of the accident. Be sure to know your States laws regarding filing a personal injury claim so you don’t let the statute of limitations run it’s course.

Although whiplash is technically considered a soft tissue injury, it is not an injury to be taken lightly. This type of injury affects your neck and the surrounding muscles of your spine, generally when the head is forced forward and back again, often as a result of a rear end car accident.

\Whiplash causes severe stiffness and pain in your neck, shoulders and head. You may also experience migraines, blurred vision as well as temporary loss of mobility in your neck. Benefits of receiving physical therapy treatment can relieve the tension and allow you to recovery from the injury. This will also help strengthen your neck and shoulder muscles and prevent any future whiplash injuries.

If you’re in the process of trying to negotiate a whiplash settlement for your injuries, it’s probably a good idea to finish any physical therapy, chiropractic, and any other medical treatments before submitting a final whiplash settlement demand…. often the whiplash settlement amount will be less if you sign a settlement agreement before you’ve finished all medical treatments and know the full extent of your whiplash injuries.

After being involved in a rear end collision and seeking medical attention, you discover you have whiplash. The amount you should ask for your whiplash settlement will very depending on a number of factors. In most whiplash settlements you or your attorney will total up your medical expenses as well as your wages lost and property damages, and then ask for a multiplier for your “pain and suffering”.

The pain and suffering multiplier in a whiplash settlement usually ranges from 1-5, with one being the least severe and five being the most severe. A pain & suffering multiple of 1 is typically indicative of very minor injury with little to no recovery time. A pain and suffering multiple of 4 or 5 means serious, long term injuries and/or disabilities are present that will likely last a lifetime. Most whiplash settlements will fall somewhere in between, so assuming you’re not on either extreme, you should probably ask for somewhere in the 2-4 range, depending on the severity.

Speaking to legal and medical professionals is a key step here – a good thing to know is what grade of whiplash your injury was assigned. Whiplash injuries are graded on a scale from 0-4 in terms of severity, and whiplash settlements can vary greatly by grade of whiplash.

Depending on the severity and pain level you’re in, give yourself an honest assessment and assign a multiple for pain & suffering, then multiply that number and get an estimate for your individual whiplash settlement.

When it comes to calculating a whiplash settlement, insurance companies and personal injury attorneys have a general formula they rely on in order to calculate the auto accident settlement amount. The formula they follow in order to calculate your whiplash settlement is the same we have in our whiplash calculator. The easiest way to calculate your whiplash settlement is to add up the following items together:

  • Medical expenses
  • Wages lost during recovery time
  • Property damages
  • Estimated future medical expenses

Once all of the above has been added, a multiplier is applied to the sum of all the expenses added above. That multiplier is usually a 1-5 and represents the pain and suffering from the injuries sustained from the collision. If the injury is less severe with a speedy recovery the number representing the multiplier will be less. If the injury has caused extreme pain and affected your daily activities with a lengthy recovery the multiplier will be on the higher scale.

There are also a number of online car accident settlement calculators available, including on this website. These will allow you to plug in real numbers for your expenses and damages, plug in an estimated pain & suffering multiple, and get an estimated calculation of what your whiplash settlement might be. But keep in mind, these tools are only as good as the estimated numbers that are input, and since every car accident and every injury are slightly different, these are rarely an accurate depiction of what to expect, more so a starting point for your efforts.

When determining how much compensation you might receive, you must factor in multiple variables. A car accident settlement includes not only personal injury expenses but also property damage values. You must be able to prove the negligence of the opposing driver in order to receive compensation for your personal injuries and property damage. Every collision is different so many different variables must be taken into consideration when determining a settlement. These variables include:

  • Medical expenses
  • Future medical expenses
  • Loss of income during recovery time
  • Pain and suffering
  • Property damages

When it comes to determining what a fair whiplash settlement is you must understand that whiplash is a soft tissue injury. Because of this, it’s generally considered less severe by insurance companies. Broken bones, lacerations and torn ligaments are all very easy to define and understand injuries – whiplash is much trickier. As a result, a “fair whiplash settlement” can vary widely, and be largely dependent on the victim’s ability to prove severity.

Although whiplash can be extremely discomforting and painful, compensation for whiplash injuries is usually on the lower can range anywhere from $2,000- $20,000. In more severe whiplash cases that require rehabilitation and physical therapy, the settlement value can be much higher – 6 and sometimes even 7 figures. A helpful starting point if you’re suffering from whiplash after a car accident is to see a doctor, and ask specifically what grade of whiplash you have. Whiplash injuries are assigned a number based on severity, and usually a higher whiplash grade means a higher whiplash settlement.

Whiplash Settlement Example: One example of a whiplash case involved a rear end collision settlement. Rear end collisions are a common way whiplash is sustained due to the sudden back and forth jolt that occurs when one car hits another from behind. The driver who was rear-ended was diagnosed with grade 1 whiplash and spent a month receiving physical therapy treatments. Between the initial diagnosis and ongoing treatments, this ended up costing $4,300 in medical expenses. She also missed four workdays costing her $925 in lost income, and had minor repairs made to the vehicle. Factoring in pain and suffering multiple of 2.2 brought her settlement to $13,700.

Whiplash is considered a soft tissue injury that affects the neck and shoulder muscles resulting in sharp pain and swelling surrounding those areas. Delayed whiplash is quite common after being involved in a motor vehicle accident however, even if you are not experiencing the pain immediately, it is important to seek medical attention following the accident. It is important that you do not sign an settlement statement right away and be sure to wait a little to see if any injuries surface a few days later. Once you have signed any type of settlement agreement, there is no chance to file a claim. It is also important to remember that every State has a statute of limitations, which allows you to sue within a certain timeframe that is generally 2 years. However, every State has different laws so be sure to be knowledgeable in regards to your State’s laws.

Depending on who’s data you’re looking at, the average settlement for whiplash injuries after a car accident is somewhere in the neighborhood of $10,000. However, it’s important to keep in mind that this, or any average car accident settlement amount you might find, will be skewed by a few million dollar settlements.

Another thing to consider about average whiplash settlements is co-existing injuries… is that $2,000,000 whiplash settlement the result of solely a whiplash injury, or were there other injuries or factors present? Many times when severe whiplash occurs, there can be traumatic brain injuries, concussions, and broken vertebrae. All of these injuries will increase the amount of the settlement, but were they really due to whiplash?

Related: Average settlement for concussions & head injuries in car accidents

A less talked about factor in calculating car accident settlements is income, but it can play a large role. A surgeon or a high level tech CEO who can’t turn their head or look at a computer screen for a month might lose tens of thousands of dollars in income in that time, which will be included in the settlement offer. A part time, minimum wage earner will probably earn a thousand dollars or less in that same month. Even if all other factors remain the same, the settlement for the surgeon/ceo will be a lot higher simply due to income discrepancy.

Some factors involved in calculating a whiplash settlement after a car accident include:

  • Medical expenses to treat the initial whiplash injury, such as hospital co-pays, neck braces, etc.
  • Loss of income resulting in not being able to work due to the whiplash injury, or missing work for medical appointments related to the accident.
  • Future medical expenses: Many whiplash injuries require ongoing chiropractic care, physical therapy, or both. This can be difficult to estimate in the beginning stages of a whiplash settlement negotiation, so a lot of car accident attorneys recommend finishing treatment before filing a claim for your whiplash injury.
  • Pain & suffering/impact on daily life: Generally speaking, the more you’re day to day life is negatively affected, the higher your whiplash settlement will be.

Whiplash can lead to arthritis in some patients. Car accidents that affect the neck can irritate and even tear loose connective tissue in the neck and upper back. This can create weakness that allows the spine to break down faster due to misalignment. The longer your spine is misaligned, the more the neck and spine will wear down joints, discs and muscles.

Some doctors who see car accident victims have found that X-rays show that many have disc disease and arthritis in the neck. This research suggests it is certainly possible that the whiplash injury and resulting disability such as arthritis could be related to each other.
It is important to have your neck pain diagnosed as soon as you can after the accident, so treatment can begin.

Yes. There can be serious injuries from whiplash that can cause neurological problems. When whiplash occurs, concussions and other traumatic brain injuries are usually not far behind. This is because when a car accident occurs with enough force to cause a whiplash injury, the head has likely been forced forward and backwards, or side to side, very violently. When this occurs, something else happens – the brain is rattled around in the head, sometimes smashing into the inside of the skull, which can cause serious brain injuries and as a result, lots of neurologial problems.

A car accident at higher speeds can cause herniated disc injuries and nerve damage, which can cause problems in other parts of the body, as well as neck and back pain that may be severe.

Some patients report they have tingling sensations in their hands and/or feet after a car accident. This can be caused by nerve damage in the neck from whiplash. This is referred to as radiculopathy, which is the medical term for irritation or compression of nerves in the spinal column. It is most commonly seen in car accidents causing injury to the lower back and neck.

Car accidents also can cause a pinched nerve in the neck or spine; this is often a side effect of whiplash and can cause serious pain.

Injuries from whiplash can last days, weeks, months or even years. It depends upon how severe the neck injury was that damaged tissues in your neck and upper back. Some car accident victims report experiencing long term neck pain and/or headaches that can last for years. The nagging pain can be caused by damage to your ligaments, discs and neck joints.

Long term symptoms from whiplash can occur even in relatively minor car accidents where the speed was only 10 MPH. Also, keep in mind that even in a low speed crash at 8 MPH, your head will move approximately 18 inches, and the force can be up to 7 G’s in less than ¼ of a second. Common symptoms of long term whiplash are jaw pain, severe headaches, difficulty sleeping, ringing in the ears, blurred vision, memory problems and irritability.

One of the most common causes of whiplash in a car accident is a rear end collision. If you are stopped at a traffic light and are hit from behind, you probably are not expecting it. There might be only minor damage or none at all. But you still may feel pain in the upper back and neck. Or, you may have a headache or feel dizzy. But the next day, you could feel a lot of stiffness and pain in your neck. Why did this happen?

When you are sitting in the car, usually your head is right over your shoulders. But when you are hit from behind, the impact is unexpected, and your torso will move in one direction, but your head will not follow right away; it will go in the other direction. The torso will snap against the seat back and your head when be yanked back. So, there are two times in a rear end crash where the neck may be hyperextended. This may cause you serious pain immediately or it may take a few hours or days to appear. Regardless, you should be seen by a doctor as soon as possible to confirm if you have whiplash.

The major pain symptoms of whiplash are neck and upper back pain. The pain may start immediately after the accident or take days or even weeks later. Symptoms of whiplash can vary dramatically from one person to another, but usually include one or more of the following:

  • Neck and upper back tightness or spasms.
  • Pain when you move your head and neck; can be accompanied by headache and dizziness, which are common signs of a concussion.
  • Difficulty swallowing and chewing. You also may be hoarse, which points to an esophagus or larynx injury.
  • Abnormal sensations in the extremities such as burning or tingling; these symptoms suggest a neck injury affecting nerves that radiate throughout the body.
  • Shoulder and/or upper back pain

If you have suffered severe whiplash in a high-speed accident, you may also have injury to your intervertebral joints, discs, ligaments, cervical muscles and nerves of the upper back and neck.

One of the challenges with whiplash and related neck injuries is symptoms may not appear immediately. Car accidents are ‘exciting’ in the physiological sense. Your body produces adrenaline and endorphins right after the accident and may block pain temporarily. Many car accidents can produce a feeling of higher energy and lack of pain. But just because you do not feel whiplash symptoms after the accident does not mean you won’t ever.

Once the release of adrenaline and endorphins fades, you may start to experience neck pain. Most people will begin to feel symptoms within 24 to 72 hours. Therefore, it is vital to visit the ER or doctor immediately after the car accident. You should be checked out by a medical professional to check for accident injuries, including whiplash. If you wait several days to see a doctor when the neck pain begins, this can complicate a future personal injury lawsuit or insurance claim. The other party may argue that your neck pain is unrelated to the accident.

The medical professional should be able to determine if you have a whiplash injury or not from the car accident, even if you do not have major symptoms at present. The doctor will generate a medical report where your injury will be documented. This document will be critical to a future claim.

The recovery time from a car accident induced whiplash injury can vary depending on the severity of the accident/injury, but in general, most whiplash injuries last a few days in minor cases, to 2-3 months for more severe injuries.

According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, chronic whiplash is defined as a severe type of whiplash lasting longer than 6-12 months.

The treatment for most whiplash injuries is time, ice, physical therapy, massage, and chiropractic care, which can help speed the recovery process for many people.

Lots of accidents can cause whiplash, from a slip and fall to a sports injury, but the most common cause of whiplash injuries is auto accidents. As it pertains to a car accident, the most common cause of whiplash is a rear ended accident, where one car hits another from behind. When this happens, the impact of one car striking another from behind causes the body, followed by the head, to jerk violently forward and then back in a whipping motion, putting severe stress on the neck muscles. Whiplash can sometimes be caused by a side impact (t-bone accident) or a head on collision, but the sudden forward to backward motion caused by a rear end car accident is much more common. In most cases, whiplash will go away on its own within a couple of months, but severe cases of whiplash can last months or even years, and may require surgery.

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About Shelby Stone-Huff

Shelby Stone-Huff is an experienced writer in the automotive and law fields and brings her knowledge of both together for Lawsuit Info Center. She is proud to help others understand the legalities of automotive accidents through the knowledge she has obtained through experience.