Whiplash Settlement After a Car Accident
What's In This Article
If you were involved in a car accident and sustained a whiplash injury, you may be entitled to a whiplash settlement. 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.
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.
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Take Immediate Steps to Ensure A Fair Whiplash Settlement
More than 3 million Americans suffer a whiplash injury each year. A whiplash injury can result in chronic pain. In fact, almost 10% of all Americans suffer from chronic pain due to a whiplash injury caused by a low-speed rear-impact collision.
After you sustain a whiplash injury from an auto accident, there are important steps that you need to take to protect yourself and ensure that you get the maximum compensation for your whiplash injury. If you do not take the proper steps, you may experience long-term medical problems. Moreover, you may reduce your chances of receiving a fair whiplash settlement for your injuries.
Get Medical Treatment Right Away
If you think you may have any injury after a car accident, including whiplash, you should get to your doctor or ER immediately. Many soft tissue injuries, including a whiplash injury, do not become obvious until well after the accident.
Your doctor will know to be looking for signs of a neck injury after a car accident, including whiplash. If you decide to file a whiplash lawsuit later, you will need to have strong medical records to support your claim. Any insurance adjuster or jury will look skeptically at any claim of a whiplash injury, so be sure that you have the medical proof you need to get the compensation that you deserve.
Start Your Whiplash Injury Claim ASAP
If your doctor diagnoses you with a whiplash injury, start the personal injury claim immediately. If your car accident happened in a no-fault state, you should 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 or lawsuit.
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.
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Carefully Note Losses and Expenses
If you file a whiplash claim with an insurance company, 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. Make their lives easier with good records and you will increase your chances of receiving a fair whiplash settlement.
Filing a Whiplash Injury Lawsuit
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.
If you reside in a no-fault state, a whiplash lawsuit 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, chiropractor adjustments, pain and suffering, and lost wages.
Keep in mind that many whiplash claims are viewed skeptically so you will need to have good documentation to receive fair compensation.
Factors That Can Affect Your Whiplash Settlement
Many factors can impact whether you receive an average whiplash settlement or an above-average whiplash settlement. If you are unable to reach a whiplash settlement and go to trial, some of the stereotypes associated with whiplash injuries could work against you. Fortunately, a majority of whiplash cases are settled out of court. Despite this, it can provide peace of mind to know that you are prepared should your case head to trial.
Because it is extremely difficult to show evidence of a whiplash injury due to muscle tears and strains not showing on traditional X-rays or MRIs, many jurors turn to the damage to your vehicle to help them determine the severity of your accident.
Pain & Suffering Associated with Whiplash
If you experience chronic or permanent symptoms of a whiplash injury due to your accident, this can greatly influence your chances of receiving an above-average whiplash settlement. Permanent damage or pain has a huge effect on your chances of receiving monetary compensation for pain and suffering.
The Types of Vehicles Involved
The type of vehicle involved in your whiplash car accident will have a serious effect on your whiplash claim. If you were riding a motorcycle at the time of your crash, for example, you may be entitled to more compensation than you would if you were driving a car. This is because many states do not require you to prove that your injury is permanent to receive compensation for pain and suffering if you were riding a motorcycle at the time of your accident.
Car accidents involving big rig vehicles are also extremely serious, especially if you experience neck pain after your car accident. Many larger trucking companies keep very good insurance on their drivers and vehicles for just this reason. Whiplash car accidents involving big rigs generally have a much higher whiplash settlement payout due to the risk and danger involved with such a large vehicle crash.
Who Was Negligent?
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. Note that this varies depending on how fault is proved in your state. It may be necessary to seek compensation from your insurance company. To receive a whiplash settlement for pain and suffering, you must be able to prove negligence on the part of another driver.
Additionally, if a drunk driver was responsible for the accident, your whiplash settlement may be impacted. An experienced attorney will often be able to argue for punitive damage in a whiplash settlement involving a drunk driver, which increases your likelihood of receiving an above-average whiplash settlement.
The At Fault Driver’s Insurance Coverage
Many of the most well-known insurance companies will pay an average whiplash settlement. 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 is harder to find out on your own without an experienced attorney, but will tell you much more than merely finding out the name of their insurance company.
If you were involved in an accident with a big rig or other commercial vehicles, your chances of receiving an above-average whiplash settlement increase. These vehicles and drivers are often insured at a much higher coverage level than most regular drivers due to the sheer amount of time they spend behind the wheel and the danger of bigger vehicles. If your car accident involved a commercial vehicle, talking to an attorney is highly recommended.
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 schedule follow-up visits if your pain persists. What you may initially think of as whiplash may end up being a much more serious injury with complications and a larger potential whiplash settlement.
In some cases, severe neck injuries or neck injuries in conjunction with concussions or other brain injuries have settled for 6 and 7 figure sums. If you have received multiple serious injuries in a whiplash accident, reach out to a qualified attorney as soon as possible to get started with your whiplash settlement claim.
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.
What is a Fair Whiplash Settlement For My Injury?
What is the average whiplash settlement payout? The answer to this question depends on a multitude of factors. One of the most important factors is how fast you and the drivers of other vehicles involved in the accident were traveling at the time. Speed plays a huge factor in auto accidents, especially in whiplash car accidents. In general, the harder you’re hit, the more severe your injuries will be. On the other hand, even the slightest impact to the front, rear, or side of your vehicle can cause your body to sustain a whiplash injury. Other common factors that go into determining your whiplash injury settlement will include:
- Whether you have suffered an injury like this in the past
- The severity of your whiplash injury
- The damage to your vehicle
- The length of your recovery
How To Calculate An Average Whiplash Injury Settlement Payout
Every whiplash injury settlement case is different and will settle for a different value. Generally, the more severe your whiplash injuries are, the higher the whiplash compensation payouts are. Assuming the other driver was at fault, you might expect compensation for the following:
- Initial medical bills
- Ongoing medical treatment (Chiropractic care is generally needed when recovering from a whiplash injury)
- Loss of income
- Pain & suffering
- Property damage
For example, suppose that you were rear-ended by another driver while stopped at a red light. The other driver was traveling at a speed of 10 miles per hour and didn’t hit the brakes before impact. You suffered a whiplash injury to your back and neck and experienced the immediate onset of pain. You began treating your injury with a chiropractor for three months after the accident. You incurred medical bills of $5,000. In a case such as the above, the injured party will most likely receive between $8,000 to $15,000 for the medical portion of the whiplash settlement.
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. You’re now looking at total damages in the range of $21,000 – $28,000.
The severity of your injury and its impact on your day-to-day life determines the multiplier used for your case. The amount of your medical bills indicates a number between 1 and 5 to account for pain & suffering. Also taken into account are any negative effects your whiplash injury has had on your lifestyle. This includes not being able to do the things you enjoy, help your family around the house, play with your kids, or otherwise live your life how you did before the accident.
The whiplash settlement amount that you get depends on all the factors involved in your case. The multiplier goes a long way in getting you the biggest settlement for your whiplash lawsuit. This is one of the most important reasons to speak with an experienced attorney following your car accident whiplash injury. $25,000 multiplied by 2 is a big number, but $25,000 multiplied by 5 is a much bigger number.
How Much is Pain and Suffering Worth in a Whiplash Settlement?
Now you need to determine the value of your pain and suffering. In some cases, the auto insurance company will use a multiplier from 1 to 5 to determine the settlement cost of your injuries. That number is multiplied by your economic damages.
However, the multiplier system is not always used. If your whiplash injury case goes to trial, the jury will not use a multiplier. Many factors can increase or lower your damages awarded at trial. So, it does not really make sense to assume a multiplier will be used. Factors that will matter at trial include:
- 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 matter. If most of your bills are for chiropractic treatment instead of from a regular doctor, the jury and insurance company are more likely to think less of your injuries and lower your whiplash injury settlement payout. Therefore, seeing your primary care physician is best if you are looking to maximize your whiplash settlement.
Actual Car Accident Whiplash Settlement Amounts
Whiplash is a soft tissue neck injury. Whiplash happens from the head whipping back and forth during a car crash, leading to ligament and tendon damage. This may be considered a ‘minor’ injury by some insurance companies, but whiplash can be very painful.
How much is a typical whiplash settlement offer? Some attorneys say a mild or moderate settlement ranges from $2500 to $10,000. If there is long-term pain and/or nerve injuries, the settlement might be around $30,000.
Other attorneys note that whiplash injuries must be permanent to get pain and suffering compensation.
Also, whiplash cases often depend on the property damage involved. Whiplash injuries are invisible on X-rays, so the insurance company wants to see severe vehicle damage to ensure that you have a neck injury.
Further, the sooner you complain about neck pain after an accident, the stronger your legal case. Your doctors can say the neck injury is due to the car accident.
$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 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 – 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 the 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 – obtained a $1,000,000 recovery after a man was 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 accident 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 injuries and to his left shoulder and leg. 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 the head made his pain worse. The exam showed he had less range of motion in the spine and muscle spasms in the spine. He also had a cervical neck strain and sprain, a thoracic strain and injury, and 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.
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Actual Whiplash Settlement Example
This whiplash settlement story is from John in Los Angeles, California.
On September 9, 2021 I was stopped at a red light in my 2015 Ford Expedition on La Brea & Olympic Boulevard in Los Angeles California when suddenly I was rear ended by Toyota Prius, causing my injuries and damages. I was completely unprepared for the hit, and had my head turned to the right at the moment of impact. I was jolted forward and back, and I struck my head against the headrest. I pulled over to the shoulder and exchanged information with the other driver. After exchanging information, I got back in my car and began driving home. At this time, the pain in my neck and other symptoms began to worsen.
The next day following the accident, I woke up with substantial neck pain and discomfort along with a throbbing headache. I decided to go to work, although I was suffering from significant neck pain and headaches. I took Motrin in the morning for pain relief, however my pain continued to progress throughout the day. Although the impact to my vehicle was moderate, I was still experiencing severe pain. It was difficult to make it through the day at work, so I ended up leaving work early due to my pain. At this point, I knew that I needed to seek professional medical attention for my injuries.
I woke up the next morning and still felt stiff and sore. I decided to call a Chiropractor near my home to go in for an adjustment. Luckily, the chiropractor told me they had an appointment available that morning so I immediately went in for treatment. At this time, my neck pain was throbbing, achy, and stiff. My headaches were sharp, and I felt a pressure-like sensation behind my eyes. I had shoulder pain and stiffness, and it was difficult for me to rotate my head in any direction. The chiropractor examined me, and advised that I sustained a whiplash injury to my neck which was the cause of my pain and symptoms. He recommended that I continue treatment with him twice a week for 4 to 6 weeks. The Chiropractor hooked me up to a TENS unit which is electrical stimulation for your muscles. It is used to treat whiplash injuries, muscle spasms, stiffness, and tightness. After my appointment, I felt some minor pain relief.
The next day, I returned to the chiropractor for a second appointment. It had only been a few days since the accident and I woke up with left and right shoulder, neck, and mid back pain. My headaches were still present and not subsiding. The Chiropractor examined me and found tenderness to palpation over the deltoid and bicipital groove of the right shoulder. Range of motion of my shoulder was painful on right lateral flexion with tightness. Examination of my neck (cervical spine) revealed tenderness on palpation over the cervical paravertebral musculature at the level of C1-C7, bilaterally. My cervical range of motion was restricted and painful. As a result of my ongoing pain and symptoms, the Chiropractor prescribed me an X-ray of my neck which he took in office that day. The X-ray revealed the following:
- There is loss of normal lordotic curvature cervical spine
- There is a loss of normal disc height at C5-6 and C6-7 levels.
Whiplash Injury After The Car Accident:
My Chiropractor explained that I sustained a significant whiplash injury to my neck as a direct result of the rear end impact. Although whiplash may not sound like a serious injury, it can greatly effect ones life and activities of daily living. Most people recover from whiplash injuries within a few weeks after an accident, however there are reports of neck and shoulder pain years after sustaining a whiplash injury. Whiplash can lead to chronic neck pain which causes a significant reduction in your quality of life. After sustaining a whiplash injury in a car accident, it is important to seek professional medical care and treatment in order to diagnose and treat the underlying injury, and prevent it from progressively worsening. My chiropractor advised that all of the pain and symptoms that I presented with were consistent with a whiplash injury. For these reasons, I continued treatment with the chiropractor over the course of six weeks.
The goal of my chiropractic treatment was to treat my whiplash injury by control pain, and improving the active range of motion in my neck. My Chiropractor advised me to ice my neck and shoulders at night after treatment and use heat and compression to treat the pain. These methods seemed to be helpful, however I continued to have significant pain and discomfort in my neck, mid back and shoulders. I was prescribed Flexeril for pain which helps with muscle spasm and tightness. It was difficult for me to find a comfortable position to sleep at night which lead to insomnia.
On my last chiropractic visit, I still had residual pain and stiffness in my neck, shoulders, and mid back. My daily headaches had subsided, however I continued to experience mild-to-moderate headaches 2-3 times a week. Prior to the rear end accident, I never had headaches so I knew that my injuries were caused from the crash. My Chiropractor advised that I would require future medical care and treatment for my injuries. I was discharged from care with instructions to seek further chiropractic and physical therapy treatment as needed, including but not limited to such modalities as hot packs, massage, X-rays, TENS treatment, and strengthening exercises. He advised that I would need future evaluations with an orthopedic and/or pain management physician for flare ups.
Negotiations & Settlement
When my chiropractor discharged me from care, I knew that it was time to submit a whiplash settlement demand to the at fault drivers insurance company to be compensated for my injuries. I called him the next day and requested a copy of my medical records and bills. At first, I was a bit apprehensive to submit my settlement demand because I knew that insurance companies try to downplay whiplash injuries and offer substantially less compensation. After reviewing my medical records, I summarized my medical care and treatment and made sure to let the insurance company know what I went through as a result of their drivers negligence. I had missed days from work and suffered from significant pain on a daily basis. I was unable to complete my activities of daily living such as cooking and cleaning the house. The worst part was that even playing with my small children caused me pain and discomfort in my neck, back, and shoulders.
My total medical bills from the chiropractor, including the X-rays was $5,500. The insurance company let me know early on that the at-fault driver carried a minimum California insurance policy with $15,000 of bodily injury coverage per person and $30,000 per accident. I knew that I would need at least $3,000-$5,000 for future medical care and treatment, so I submitted a demand for the full $15,000 policy limits and gave the insurance company 10 days to respond.
When the demand expired on the 10th day, the insurance adjuster called me and made a whiplash settlement offer of $6,000. I was shocked. The adjuster told me that there was only $1,500 of damage to my vehicle and that I sustained “soft-tissue injuries.” I knew that the insurance company was low balling me, so I immediately rejected the offer and provided a counter offer for $13,000. The adjuster rejected my counter and offered $7,500. I rejected the offer again. At this time, I was frustrated. I hung up the phone and sent a counter offer to the insurance company for $11,000 the next day. I gave them a week to respond, and three days later the insurance adjuster emailed me and advised that they were accepting my demand of $11,000. They enclosed a car accident settlement release for me to review and sign. I accepted, signed the release, and my check was issued within 5 days. It was such a relief to settle my case and I was happy that I would have an allowance to cover the cost of my future medical care and treatment.
Whiplash Injury Causes
According to medical experts, whiplash injuries usually result from a collision that includes sudden acceleration or deceleration. Rear-end car accidents are a common cause of whiplash injuries. It happens when a vehicle strikes your car, causing the body to jerk forward quickly. The head usually trails by a second, causing injuries to the muscles and soft tissue in the neck as it makes exaggerated movements due to the force of the crash. Fortunately, it is fairly easy to prove fault in these cases.
In other types of car accidents, whiplash occurs from the sheer force of the collision and the effects that force has on the head, neck, and other body parts. The sudden forward and backward or side to side movement that often occurs during a car accident can cause a whiplash injury.
Note that whiplash symptoms can develop days or even weeks after the accident. If at any point after your accident, you experience neck or back pain or stiffness, difficulty moving your head, or frequent headaches at the base of your head, seek medical attention immediately.
The Physical Impacts of Whiplash
Whiplash occurs when a person’s neck is jerked suddenly back and forth. The movement pulls the cervical spine beyond its usual range of motion, damaging the muscles and ligaments in the neck. Particularly common among victims of rear-end car accidents, whiplash can occur any time a person’s neck moves back and forward unexpectedly.
Whiplash can be deceptive, with symptoms often not presenting for hours or even days after an accident. Common symptoms include headache, blurred vision, dizziness, and neck pain. While many whiplash injuries can be relatively minor, whiplash can have long-term effects on a person. Chronic pain and discomfort are possible in people suffering from whiplash. Most, however, recover in about three weeks.
Reducing the Risks of a Whiplash Injury in a Car Accident
It’s easy to forget how much power is harnessed by the modern automobile. As we run errands or sit in traffic, we rarely consider the sheer weight and force required to get us from one place or another. It’s not until we’re involved in an accident that we truly appreciate the physics at work. During a crash, a person’s body weight is multiplied by the speed of a vehicle, causing G-forces to bear down on some of their most sensitive body parts.
Not surprisingly, that weight can have a serious impact on the human body. While vehicle manufacturers are continually improving safety features, whiplash injuries are still incredibly common. Sudden stops can cause serious damage even when a person does not sustain cuts, bruises, or wounds in a crash. Fortunately, there are a few steps a person can take to minimize the impact of this force on the body and prevent whiplash from occurring.
Having the headrest properly adjusted can reduce the severity of such movements in a collision. A headrest should sit directly behind your head while driving. Adjust it as close to your head as is comfortable, with the height reaching to the top of the ears. Ideally, there would be no space between your head and headrest. Realistically, that would be both uncomfortable and impractical. Instead, limit the space as much as possible. Distances greater than 10 centimeters have been associated with increased symptoms of neck injuries.
Wearing your seatbelt can also help reduce the chances of a whiplash injury. Though seatbelts may not keep your head from jostling in a wreck, they can help keep your torso in place. This complements the work done by the headrest, keeping your entire body in place despite the amount of force it endures. The reduction of strain minimizes the effects of whiplash.
Of course, the best way to avoid whiplash is to prevent car accidents altogether. By driving defensively and staying alert to changing traffic conditions, you can lower the odds of ever being involved in a wreck. While not all collisions are avoidable, many of the most common kinds of accidents are indeed preventable.
Evolving Technology and Whiplash Injury Prevention
Modern cars are designed to absorb as much energy as possible in crash situations. Rather than pass the energy onto the passengers, vehicles offset collisions by using crumple zones to bear the impact of the crash. Airbags, seat belts, and side-impact protection can go a long way to prevent the force of the wreck from harming passengers inside.
Headrest effectiveness has become a particular point of focus for safety regulators in recent years. Newly introduced federal standards on the height of head restraints and the allowable distance between the head and the headrest have seen dramatic changes in the way car interiors are manufactured. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) utilizes a 5-star safety ratings system that allows consumers to make educated decisions about safety when purchasing a vehicle. You can search for vehicles by year, make, and model on the NHTSA website.
The Importance of Aftercare
Even when you take precautions to prevent a whiplash injury, accidents happen. Controlling for damage sometimes isn’t enough. If you have been involved in a car accident and experience the telltale signs of whiplash, it’s important to seek medical attention as soon as possible. A doctor will conduct a thorough examination and may require imaging like X-rays, CT scans, or an MRI to better understand your injuries. In many cases, a doctor will prescribe physical therapy to help the patient heal.
Before visiting the doctor, be sure to make a list of your symptoms. Be ready to explain exactly what led to your injuries and what treatments, if any, you used to combat pain. Have a list of questions about your potential whiplash injury ready, and be sure to address concerns about chronic pain. Do not leave your doctor’s office without receiving copies of documentation evidencing your diagnosis. If you choose to file a claim, documentation will be required by your insurance company to receive a whiplash settlement.
The 5 Levels of a Car Accident Whiplash Injury
When it comes to whiplash caused by a motor vehicle accident, patients are classified on a 5 level scale that represents the pain and severity of their injury. These 5 levels can be used by doctors to determine what type of treatment you should receive for your whiplash injury. The levels are:
- Grade 0 – No symptoms or physical signs of neck injury.
- Grade 1 – Symptoms of pain or tenderness with stiffness, but no physical signs of injury.
- Grade 2 – Symptoms of pain, stiffness, and physical signs of injury including difficulty moving the head.
- Grade 3 – Symptoms of severe pain, headaches, tenderness and other symptoms. Physical signs are more pronounced and include a decreased range of motion, difficulty moving the head, and tenderness in key points of the neck and shoulders.
- Grade 4 – Symptoms of extreme pain, headaches, and other symptoms. Neck fracture and dislocation are assigned to this grade.
The 5 level scale helps both you and your medical professional classify the severity of a whiplash injury. It also helps you understand how much to ask for when it comes time to negotiate your settlement. Data suggests that there is a rough whiplash payout scale used by insurance companies when calculating the value of a whiplash claim, and in most cases the higher the grade of whiplash, the higher the payout.
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Find out the maximum compensation you could receive.
- How Much Is My Car Accident Settlement Worth?
What are Common Whiplash Injury Symptoms?
Whiplash is a type of neck strain or injury most commonly associated with car accidents but can occur due to any impact that causes your neck to jerk suddenly in an unnatural direction. Our neck muscles are strong, but cannot withstand abrupt force without suffering from strains and possibly even tears. Because our heads and necks are unrestrained while we drive, this puts us at a greater risk of whiplash when involved in car accidents such as being rear-ended.
The symptoms and pain associated with a whiplash injury will depend on the severity of your injury. Some of the most common symptoms of whiplash include:
- Pain or stiffness in the neck
- Difficulty turning the head or nodding
- Muscle spasms
- Blurred or obstructed vision
- Headaches at the base of the skull
- Periods of dizziness
- Sustained fatigue
While the above are obvious warning signs of whiplash, some less common symptoms are equally as serious. These include:
- Trouble sleeping or insomnia
- Sudden mood changes and irritability
- Tenderness of the neck
- Pain in the lower back
- Ringing in the ears
If you are experiencing any sustained symptoms of whiplash after a car accident, seek medical attention immediately. 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 and your lawyer can reference may help you win a whiplash settlement claim that helps offset the financial costs involved with an accident.
How Long Does it Take for Whiplash Symptoms to Appear?
Every car accident is different and so is every driver and passenger. Whiplash symptoms can appear immediately and be extremely painful from the moment of the accident. However, many cases of whiplash do not follow this pattern. In some cases, you may not begin to experience symptoms from your whiplash injury until several hours after your accident.
Occasionally, it can even take days after the accident for the true extent of your symptoms and pain to show themselves. 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 serve to establish the extent of your injuries to help you receive an adequate whiplash settlement.
How is Whiplash Diagnosed?
Whiplash injuries can be extremely hard to pinpoint using modern medical technology. Since whiplash injuries primarily consist of damage to the soft tissue of the neck, X-rays can not be used to determine if a person does or does not have whiplash. Your doctor may order MRI or CT scans to help rule out other possible causes of your symptoms.
However, the primary method of diagnosing whiplash remains your symptoms – so be sure to answer any and all of your doctor’s questions about your pain and your accident truthfully. Exaggerating your pain or minimizing how bad it is to appear tough will only cause more confusion and make treating your whiplash injury more difficult. Moreover, failing to receive an accurate diagnosis will hurt your chances of receiving an adequate whiplash settlement.
Your doctor will refer to the 5 level classification system for whiplash car accidents to help further guide your treatment. 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.
Connection Between Whiplash and Concussions:
Whiplash can often lead to concussions, due to the physics of what happens to the body and head in a rear end collision.
The sudden stopping and starting of the head that occurs in a whiplash injury causes the brain to bounce around in the skull, which can easily cause a concussion after a car accident.
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.
Experts say patients should rest for at least 24 hours after being involved in a car accident to allow time for recovery.
Whiplash And Concussion Settlement Example:
It was a Sunday afternoon in late September, 2021, and I was driving my Honda Accord down Skinker Blvd in St. Louis Missouri when suddenly, I was rear ended by a woman in a Silver BMW.
When the BMW hit my car from behind, it violently forced me into the car in front of me. After being struck, my body lurched forward very suddenly, essentially leaving my head to play catch up. When it did, I immediately felt a painful, pinching sensation near the base of neck where it meets my right shoulder.
The ambulance arrived, as did the firetruck and several police cars. The woman who hit me was from out of town so she had to stay at the scene until things were sorted out. A tow truck showed up and removed my car from the accident site. I remember talking to the paramedics and firefighters but not much else. I must have spoken with a police officer on the scene since there was a police report that found the other driver 100% at fault, but in the chaos following the accident, I don’t even remember the conversation.
Initial ER Visit
My wife and I were taken to the emergency room at Barnes Jewish Hospital, where we spent most of the Sunday night.
My neck pain was immediate but it was hours before I realized that I also had a massive headache, causing concern that I might also have a concussion. A CT scan at the emergency room showed no bleeding of the brain, but it did show that I had a concussion as well as a Grade 2 Whiplash Injury.
After being kept in the ER until nearly midnight for testing and observation, I was finally allowed to go home, with strict orders to ice my neck and see my family doctor as soon as possible.
Ongoing Medical Treatment
I was able to see my primary care doctor 2 days later. By this point, the pain in my neck had gotten worse, and the concussion was causing me daily problems. I was having trouble sleeping and couldn’t look at a computer or tv for more than a few minutes without getting a massive headache.
The doctor agreed with the ER diagnosis of whiplash and a concussion. He said concussions happens often in car accident whiplash cases, because the brain will rattle around inside the skull when the accident happens.
He prescribed a muscle relaxer as well as an anti-inflammatory for the pain, recommended that I wear a neck brace for 2-3 weeks to help the whiplash injury heal, and stay away from any physical activities for a month. He told me I could work if my headaches would allow it, but for the first 10 or so days I couldn’t spend more than 15-20 minutes looking at my laptop before the headaches got unbearable.
After going to my primary care doctor, I saw my chiropractor for regular visits for the next 3 months. During that time, my symptoms slowly improved, but I had a lingering headache and some tightness in my neck.
Hiring an attorney for the Car Accident Settlement
My wife and I decided to hire an attorney for help with the car accident settlement, since we didn’t know where to start. The lawyer was great – he asked a ton of questions about the accident, my injuries, and what impact the accident and injuries have had on my day to day life. He helped us to understand the concept of reaching MMI, or Maximum Medical Improvement, before making a final demand.
Once MMI was reached and we felt we had a good idea how much my whiplash and concussion settlement should be, he helped us create a demand letter that outlined our total cost of medical expenses, property damage, and a rough estimate of my lost earnings from being out of work.
In retrospect, hiring a lawyer for the car accident settlement process was a great decision. We wouldn’t have know half of the things to include in the demand letter, and would have been clueless and frustrated trying to navigate the insurance claims process.
Negotiating My Whiplash and Concussion Car Accident Settlement
I was surprised to find out that the insurance company for the other driver actually reached out to my wife and I, asking us how much we wanted for our car accident settlement. We told them what the lawyer had estimated, and they countered with an even lower number – less than half of our demand amount.
Our initial estimate of the whiplash settlement value was between $8,000-$9,000, so knowing that most insurance companies try to make a lowball initial offer, we asked for $10,000. We got a response from the insurance company a week later, offering a settlement in the amount of $5,000. We rejected the offer and pushed for more money, again stressing the impact on my sleep, work, and daily life for the past 3 months.
After talking with their adjuster over the phone, they agreed to our demand of $10,000. We accepted the offer and were happy that it all went so fast and smooth.
The settlement was paid in full on January 9th, 2022.
Final Settlement Amount for Whiplash and Concussion: $10,000
-Total Medical Costs: $6,850
-Out of Pocket Expenses: $425
-Lost Earnings from Work: $2725
I was happy to be feeling better, compensated for my injuries, and moving on with my life.
Long-Term Effects of Whiplash After a Car Accident
There are several long-term effects of whiplash after a car accident. If you have suffered a car accident whiplash injury, be sure to talk to a personal injury attorney as soon as possible to see if you can receive compensation for lost wages, pain, and suffering, and medical costs.
Long Term Effects
Beyond the short term effects of neck pain, stiffness and soreness, there could be longer-lasting symptoms of the whiplash injury that may include:
- Pain and stiffness in the neck area, such as shoulders
- Severe pain in the upper and lower back locations
- Jaw throbbing
- Trouble sleeping
- Ringing in the ears
- Balance issues
These symptoms can last for days, weeks, months, or potentially years. Full symptoms could only appear a few days after the crash, with the injury most often felt within 12 hours after the accident. This is why it is always important to have yourself checked by a doctor after the accident; a very serious whiplash injury may not feel like a significant injury until days after the accident.
Also, some areas of the body could have weakness or numbness, such as the legs or arms. Some victims may experience serious ear ringing. Others can have difficulty concentrating and problems with memory. If long-term whiplash symptoms affect the eyes, you may experience blurred vision.
Whiplash symptoms that are felt for over six months are referred to as chronic whiplash. It can be treated with prescription painkillers, muscle relaxants, physiotherapy, and rest. Other options for whiplash treatment can include acupuncture, chiropractic care, massage, and electronic nerve stimulation to reduce pain in the neck.
How Long-Term Whiplash Affects Your Claim
There are several ways that long-term whiplash injuries could increase or decrease the average whiplash settlement claim. 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. 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.
Proving Long-Term Effects Of Whiplash for Your Claim
Usually, strong evidence is required to prove that long-term whiplash injuries exist. If you are suffering long-term effects that show obvious symptoms, it is not as hard to prove that you suffered long-term effects. This will increase the strength of the whiplash injury settlement and show why a higher whiplash settlement is necessary. You will need to show the court your medical records from various medical professionals that prove that your whiplash injuries are having long-term effects on your life. The more documentation you can show, the more likely you are to convince the judge and jury.
Should I Seek Compensation For My Whiplash Injury?
If your neck pain after a car accident has been diagnosed by a medical professional as a whiplash injury and has caused serious interference with your day-to-day life, you should seek compensation for your injury from the party or parties responsible. This is where it becomes extremely important to reach out to an experienced local attorney who can assess your whiplash settlement claim’s viability. Their localized experience and knowledge of typical whiplash settlements will be invaluable in fighting to get you the whiplash settlement that you are entitled to from the insurance company.
In the case where your whiplash symptoms have become chronic (permanent) you should almost always seek compensation. In cases where the symptoms of whiplash are long-lasting, it is generally much easier to prove financial impact, pain and suffering, and the need for an above-average whiplash settlement.
Find a Car Accident Whiplash Injury Lawyer Now
A free consultation with a qualified local car accident lawyer can provide you with specific insight into the value of your whiplash settlement claim, as well as advice about what steps to take next. 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.
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.
Need help finding the right attorney for your case? Lawsuit Info Center can provide a free case evaluation and connect you with experienced lawyers in your area who have had success recovering above-average whiplash settlements from reckless drivers. Reach out today to request your free injury consultation.
Final Thoughts on Whiplash Injury Claims and Whiplash Settlements
If you have suffered a whiplash injury due to a motor vehicle accident, you should seek medical attention immediately.
You should also get in contact with a qualified motor vehicle accident attorney. If you suffer from whiplash after a car accident, you should discuss financial compensation and your personal injury case. This payout 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 so that you can plan to pay for the complications of your accident.
Don’t delay in filing your claim. The more time that passes after your accident, the more difficult it can be for an attorney to fight for financial compensation. Witnesses to your accident can go missing or forget what they saw. Many insurance companies also have deadlines to file a claim. You may also encounter the statute of limitations if you wait too long to assert your legal rights.
If you have been in a car accident and suffer from a whiplash injury, let us help you find a lawyer with a proven track record of helping victims in whiplash settlement and personal injury cases. An attorney will help you get the compensation that you deserve. A free case evaluation can give you peace of mind to move forward.
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:
- Back injuries
- Shoulder injuries
- Hip and leg injuries
- 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
- Lower and upper back pain
- Jaw pain
- Serious headaches
- Numbness and weakness in legs and arms
- Ears ringing
- Blurred vision
- 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.
Will hiring an attorney to negotiate my whiplash settlement pay for itself? Does the (hopefully) increase in settlement amount justify the attorney fees in most cases?
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.
I am suffering from delayed whiplash after a car accident. Can I sue if I didn’t say anything at the time of the accident?
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?
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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