Can I Sue for Whiplash?
Whiplash is one of the most common car accident injuries; especially in rear-end collisions. Whiplash refers to any type of neck strain in the muscles or tendons. It can happen when the head and neck jerk backward and forward suddenly, tearing the soft tissues in the neck. Although whiplash is generally a “minor” injury, it can still cause significant pain and suffering, temporary disability, and time away from work. Find out if you have the right to file a lawsuit against someone for your whiplash injury in Arizona.
The Nature of a Whiplash Injury
In 2017, 127,064 car accidents occurred in Arizona. Motor vehicle accidents cost the state around $10.765 billion. Over 37,800 of these accidents caused injuries. That equates to someone in Arizona sustaining a car accident injury every nine minutes and 29 seconds. Many of these injuries are whiplash. The abrupt impact of an auto accident – especially from behind – can whip the head back and forward in quick succession. The bands of tissues or the muscle may sustain damage from the jerking motion, causing an injury.
Symptoms of whiplash can include neck pain and stiffness, tight or knotted muscles, pain when you try to move your head, tenderness in the area, and headaches that begin at the base of the skull. Sometimes, car accident victims immediately feel pain related to whiplash, while in other cases it can take hours for the injury to become apparent. Treatment for whiplash injuries often includes painkiller drugs, ice, massage therapy, and a neck brace or collar for support. Average recovery time is a few days to a few weeks, although some may take longer.
Since a whiplash injury affects the soft tissues, it does not show up on an x-ray. Thus, it can be more difficult to prove than something like a broken bone. Combined with the potential for delayed symptoms, whiplash injuries are unfortunately common parts of insurance fraud schemes. This can make these cases harder to win as a personal injury claimant. Insurance companies often fight these claims more vigilantly than others. Hiring a qualified attorney can help you prove the authenticity of your whiplash injury after an Arizona car accident.
How to File a Whiplash Injury Claim
Get medical treatment immediately following a car accident, whether you feel injured or not. Whiplash isn’t the only injury that can show delayed symptoms. You may also fail to notice back, spinal cord, and traumatic brain injuries right away as well. The adrenaline of the accident could contribute to masking symptoms of whiplash. Going to the hospital or visiting your doctor right away can lead to a faster diagnosis and prompter treatment. It can also show an insurance company that you were proactive about your health and safety.
Once you’re on the mend, call the at-fault driver’s insurance company to file your insurance claim. Do so as soon as you can. Most insurance companies request “as soon as possible” accident reporting to qualify for benefits. Describe your injuries, but don’t agree to give a recorded statement or say yes to the first settlement offer. Instead, call a Phoenix auto accident attorney before going any further with the claims process. An insurance company may try to take advantage of you, but a lawyer is on your side.
The other driver’s insurance company may review your claim and offer a settlement to cover your medical bills. You retain the right, however, to file a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault driver (or another negligent party) instead. A personal injury lawsuit could yield greater compensation than an insurance settlement. You have two years from the date of your accident or date of injury discovery to file your lawsuit in Arizona. Retain an experienced personal injury lawyer in Phoenix to represent your case for your best odds of securing a fair judgment award.