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Can I Sue for Whiplash After a Car Accident?

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

Common Symptoms of Whiplash

A 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 the neck
  • Loss of range of motion in the 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?

Whiplash is a medical condition in which an injured party can seek compensation 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 car accident 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 car accident attorney 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

It can be difficult to gauge the severity of symptoms immediately following an accident. It’s important to seek medical advice even if the pain is minor. If initial symptoms include intense neck pain, limited range of motion, or arm pain, it could be indicative of chronic pain. Those who have experienced whiplash before, are older, have pre-existing neck pain, or were in a high-speed accident are more susceptible to whiplash.

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 an auto accident 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 auto accident attorneys in Phoenix or read more about our no win no fee policy today.

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