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Can I Sue for Whiplash After a Car Accident?

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Whiplash occurs when the head is forcefully thrown back then forward, like a whip cracking. While it’s most often associated with a car accident, it can also occur in other situations like sports accidents, physical abuse, falls and more. An estimated two million Americans experience whiplash yearly, making it a frequent and concerning injury. As one of the most common personal injuries resulting from a car accident, many people ask, “Can I sue for whiplash?”

Common Symptoms of Whiplash

whiplash neck injury happens quickly when the head snaps forward and back. Whiplash can injure bones in the spine, the disks between bones, muscles, ligaments, nerves and more. It often occurs after a rear-end collision. Common symptoms of the injury include:

  • Pain and stiffness in neck
  • Loss of range of motion in neck
  • Headaches
  • Pain or tenderness in the shoulders or upper back of arms
  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • Tingling or numbness in arms

In most cases, the treatment only takes a couple of weeks until the symptoms disappear. Contrary to most injuries, rest is not best for whiplash. Resting can cause the muscles to become stiff and weak, which can prolong the pain. However, the pain can take hours, days or even weeks to show up. Long-lasting complications can arise, and pain can worsen without treatment, so it’s essential to seek medical help as soon as pain begins. In addition to pain medications, doctors may advise physical therapy for car accident victims.

Can I Sue for Whiplash?

Man grimacing and holding neck after car accident - can I sue for whiplash?

Whiplash is a medical condition in which an injured party can seek compensation for either against the at-fault party or for benefits from their insurance provider. Compensation will depend on the severity of the injury. However, whiplash can occur from a low impact collision and speeds as low as 5-10 mph.

Most people will feel better within a few weeks after the injury and have no long-lasting effects. Others can experience pain for months or even a year after the accident, often arising in residual headaches and neck pain. Since whiplash injuries vary in time and severity, an insurance claim’s adjuster may fail to assess the injuries correctly and minimize the payment received. As a result, insurance often only offers minimal coverage for medical costs.

Rules and regulations will vary by state. For example, since California is an at-fault state, the victim would file a claim to the insurance company of the at-fault driver to cover any medical expenses. A lawyer can help to dispute a claim or file a lawsuit against the insurance company or if the accident occurred due to someone else being negligent. For instance, there are cases where a victim may want to file an airbag didn’t deploy in accident lawsuit. A lawyer can help get coverage for current and future medical expenses, loss of wages and future income, pain and suffering and emotional distress.

When to See a Personal Injury Lawyer

Knowing how bad symptoms may be right after an accident can be challenging. Even if the pain is minimal, consult with a doctor immediately. Chronic pain is more likely if the first symptoms are intense, quick to arrive, and include severe neck pain, limited range of motion and arm pain. Whiplash also occurs more frequently for those who have had whiplash before, are older, have pre-existing neck pain or were in a high-speed accident.

Some insurance providers have time limits, so it’s essential to see a lawyer as early as possible. However, should pain not arise until after the accident, victims have up to two years to file a lawsuit with the help of a personal injury lawyer.

California Whiplash Injury Attorneys

After experiencing whiplash, it’s essential to work with a team of specialists to determine the full extent of the injury and your future needs. To answer the question, “Can I sue for whiplash?” consult with an attorney to help you determine what compensation you deserve. At Avrek Law, we have recovered more than $1 billion in over 45,000 cases for our clients. Book a free consultation with one of our lawyers or read more about our no win no fee policy today.

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