When you suffer injuries in a car accident, your injuries may not be visible to the naked eye. This fact does not mean your injuries are not genuine or valid.
Many injuries, like whiplash, don’t often appear visible to those around you. However, a whiplash injury has the potential to cause significant disruption to your life until it heals. In some cases, a whiplash injury leads to permanent issues. You may feel lost and overwhelmed in the wake of a car accident that has left you with whiplash injuries and a mounting financial burden.
Contact a qualified personal injury attorney to find out what to do next. Multiple factors affect whiplash injury settlement payouts, and a personal injury attorney works with you to determine your best path forward.
What Is Whiplash?
Whiplash is an injury commonly occurring when the neck and spine experience sudden movement back and forth or side to side. Whiplash may occur in any situation; however, it most commonly occurs after a car accident. A whiplash injury may vary from person to person. Common symptoms may range from mild to severe and include the following:
- Stiffness throughout the body;
- Pain in neck, shoulders, and arms;
- Vision difficulties;
- Difficulty concentrating;
- Depression; and
- Mood changes.
Whiplash symptoms may appear immediately after an accident or become more noticeable and severe in the hours and weeks following an accident. Even if you don’t feel any symptoms or pain immediately following an accident, it’s essential to seek a medical evaluation from a doctor.
What Is an Average Settlement Payout for Whiplash Injury?
The fact is, there is no average whiplash settlement in California. The facts for each whiplash settlement vary based on the facts surrounding the injury. A qualified personal injury attorney understands this and will estimate whiplash injury compensation amounts by carefully reviewing the facts surrounding your situation.
What Factors Affect Average Whiplash Settlement Amounts?
Various factors affect whiplash injury settlement payouts. While every car accident causing whiplash is different, key factors play a part in the average whiplash settlement amount you may receive in California.
Whiplash injuries are not visibly apparent. However, property damage to a vehicle may provide a solid and convincing picture of the severity of the injuries you suffered in your car accident.
Severity of Injury
Whiplash injuries often lead to permanent disability. Severe whiplash injuries that lead to a permanent disruption to your daily life, such as chronic pain, increase the average settlement for whiplash injuries. Additionally, it’s not uncommon for injuries related to your accident to extend beyond the physical to mental ailments, as well. For example, if you suffer emotional distress after your accident, whiplash injury compensation amounts also increase.
The type of vehicles involved in your accident also has the potential to increase whiplash lawsuit settlement amounts. For example, if you were riding in a small economy car and were hit by a large semi-truck, you may be entitled to more compensation. The difference in power and size between accidents involving these vehicles often leads to more significant injuries, thereby increasing a whiplash settlement in California.
Determination of Fault
California law applies the system of comparative negligence in personal injury cases. Comparative negligence does not bar a plaintiff from recovery in a car accident even if they were partially at fault. The average whiplash settlement in California is greater for plaintiffs who do not share blame for their accident. However, being partly at fault will not bar you from seeking compensation—your recovery will simply be reduced by the percentage of your responsibility for causing the accident.
How Can I Maximize My Whiplash Injury Settlement Payouts?
Although the minutes following a car accident may be foggy, overwhelming, and scary, there are essential steps that you can take that maximize your whiplash injury settlement payout.
Seek Medical Attention
Even if you feel you’ve escaped a car accident injury-free, you may have suffered injuries that are not immediately apparent. Therefore, it’s vital to seek medical treatment immediately. Immediate medical treatment ensures that any subsequent medical issues can be directly connected to your accident. For example, suppose you wait two weeks to seek medical treatment for your whiplash injuries. In that case, an insurance adjuster may claim that the gap in time signifies that another unrelated event caused your injury.
Preserve Medical Records
Obtaining fair whiplash settlement amounts requires retaining all medical records related to your accident. These medical records support that you suffered injuries due to the accident. Additionally, medical records support a compensatory claim for any medical expenses and costs you’ve incurred since your accident.
Photograph Accident Scene
If you are physically able, consider documenting the accident scene with photographs. This can help prove things like:
- The severity of your injuries,
- The disparity between the size of the vehicles involved, and
- That property damage was associated with the accident.
However, it would be best if you never sacrificed taking photos at the scene of your accident for the sake of seeking medical attention. Always make your health and safety a priority!
You may feel overwhelmed, depressed, and confused after a car accident. It may feel daunting to consider filing a lawsuit for your injuries, especially when you may still be recovering. However, it’s important to act promptly following an accident.
Your memory and witnesses’ memories may fade quickly over time. Additionally, the statute of limitations for personal injury cases in California is two years from the date of the accident. If you fail to file your lawsuit in this period, the statute of limitations bars you from recovery. You deserve to recover compensation for your injuries. It’s important to act promptly to protect your rights.
Whiplash is a painful injury, whether mild or severe. A whiplash injury should not be something you experience alone. The Wakeford Law Firm focuses on helping personal injury victims, like you, recover compensation for their injuries.
We provide high-quality and aggressive litigation and are always prepared for trial. We carefully evaluate each of our client’s cases to determine the most advantageous path forward. Whiplash injury compensation amounts vary from case to case. But we know all the tricks insurance companies play and are known for our tenacity. Our skills help our clients receive higher settlements and better monetary awards. Contact our office today to receive a free, no-obligation consultation regarding your accident.