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Can I Recover Damages for Whiplash in a Car Accident?

Posted in Auto Accidents

Whiplash is the most common neck injury caused in a car accident, especially in rear-end and side collisions. Symptoms may not appear for a day or more after a crash, but that does not take away from their severity. Although whiplash is considered a minor soft-tissue injury, it has the potential to cause long-term repercussions. When another party is responsible for your accident resulting in whiplash, you have the right to recover damages.

Symptoms of a Whiplash Injury

See a doctor immediately after a car accident and be aware of the following possible symptoms of whiplash:

  • Neck pain
  • Headaches
  • Stiffness in the neck
  • Limited mobility
  • Dizziness
  • Inflammation in the neck, back, or shoulders
  • Tingling/numbness in the arms

More severe symptoms are:

  • Ringing in the ears (Tinnitus)
  • Blurred vision
  • Irritability
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Memory issues
  • Depression
  • Sleep disturbances

Because these symptoms can take time to become apparent, seek medical attention again as soon as you begin to experience them. Getting a proper diagnosis right away and ruling out other injuries is crucial.

What Damages Am I Entitled to for a Whiplash Injury?

Whiplash victims are entitled to recover reimbursement for their losses. Typically that includes the following types of compensation:

  • Current and future medical bills;
  • Current and future lost wages;
  • Diminished earning capacity if you are unable to earn the same level of income as before the accident due to your injury;
  • Property damage (e.g., repairs or replacement of vehicle and other personal items);
  • Pain and suffering;
  • Loss of enjoyment of life;
  • Emotional distress,
  • And more.

If the defendant (at-fault party) exhibited an extreme disregard for your safety, the court may award punitive damages as well. This type of compensation is awarded to the victim but is meant as punishment for the defendant and to deter others from similar behavior.

How Much is a Whiplash Injury Claim Worth?

The value of a whiplash injury claim will heavily rely on the following:

  • Whether you have a diagnosis;
  • The degree of your injury (e.g., mild, moderate, severe);
  • The prognosis (the likely outcome or whether you will recover);
  • Expected length of recovery;
  • The extent of your pain and suffering;
  • Your age and overall health, and other factors.

Since each case is unique, it is impossible to know your claim’s exact worth. However, you can calculate an estimate of your whiplash injury claim’s value. First, it involves adding up your economic damages, such as current and future medical bills, lost wages, diminished earning capacity, property damage, etc.

Next, that total is multiplied by a number typically between 1.5 and 5 to calculate your non-economic damages (e.g., pain and suffering, emotional distress). The insurance company will choose a number based on the severity of your whiplash injury. The more severe your soft tissue injury, the higher the multiplier number used.

How Can An Attorney Help With My Whiplash Injury Claim?

Recovering fair compensation for a whiplash injury claim can be challenging because these injuries are often invisible. In other words, they cannot be seen on an X-ray, CT scan, or MRI. Therefore, proving the amount of damages you are entitled to often requires an experienced Albuquerque Car Accident Lawyer. They can help you gather evidence to support your claim and use their resources to hire a medical expert if necessary. A car accident attorney will also handle all communication with the insurance company to ensure you are treated fairly.

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