All car accidents are different, so it is difficult to predict what your whiplash settlement cost or value will be. But we can explain some of the issues that go into valuing a whiplash settlement and some common issues that come up in whiplash injury cases.
First, we should understand what whiplash is. In many car crashes, when tendons, muscles and ligaments in your neck are suddenly contracted, the tissues can be stretched too far. The result can be a neck sprain or strain that is commonly known as whiplash.
Common symptoms of a whiplash injury are:
- Neck or upper back stiffness or pain
- Shoulder stiffness or pain
- Itching or burning sensation in the shoulders, neck or arms
How to Prove Whiplash in a Car Accident
Whiplash injuries are common after car crashes. But they are difficult to prove, thus making car accident settlements in whiplash cases more complicated. The reason is that soft tissue injuries in the neck do not show on x-rays, MRIs and related tests. That does not mean your whiplash injury is not real or any less painful. But if does mean if you are experiencing neck pain after a car accident, you should seek medical attention immediately. The doctor’s opinion will be critical to getting a fair whiplash settlement with the insurance company or in court.
What Is My Whiplash Settlement Worth?
The settlement cost of whiplash cases tend to run on the lower side. If your injury is diagnosed as whiplash, it is not usually regarded as a serious injury. Whiplash does not usually involve the discs in the neck.
So, your settlement cost for whiplash may not be that high, but how should you value it? First, add up your economic damages, such as $4000 of medical bills and $1000 of lost wages. Your economic damages are $5000. That is the first part of your damages to calculate.
Valuing Pain and Suffering in a Whiplash Case
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.
But the multiplier system is not always used. If the whiplash case goes to trial, the jury would not use a multiplier. There are many factors that can increase or lower your damages award in a court trial, so it does not really make sense to assume a multiplier will be used. Factors that will matter at trial include:
- Whether you are a good or bad witness
- Whether you are believable
- Whether the jury understands your injuries
- The nature and length of your medical treatment
The medical professional you choose for your treatments matter. If most of your bills are for chiropractic treatment instead of from a regular doctor, the jury and insurance company is more likely to think less of your injuries and lower your settlement cost. So it is always best for the best whiplash settlement cost to see regular physicians for your treatment.