What You Need to Know About Filing a Whiplash Claim
Posted in Car accidents on January 8, 2019
Whiplash is a common injury suffered by victims of car accidents. Many victims may ignore the symptoms, despite how they can severely impact their day-to-day lives. Whiplash can last for days, weeks, or even months following an accident. However, many insurance companies try to cast doubt upon victims with whiplash injuries – which is why it is crucial for victims to seek medical attention immediately.
What Is Whiplash?
Whiplash, also known as Whiplash Associated Disorder (WAD), is a neck injury that occurs when someone’s neck and shoulders jolt suddenly, like in a car accident. Victims of whiplash can experience any of the following symptoms.
- Moderate to severe neck and shoulder pain
- Stiffness in the neck and shoulders
- Ringing in the ears
- Nausea and vomiting
- Jaw soreness
- Back pain
- Blurry vision
- Weakness in one or both arms
- Any discomfort in the neck, back, and shoulders
Whiplash symptoms can take anywhere from a few hours to a few days to appear, usually appearing within 24 hours on average.
Tips for Filing a Whiplash Claim
Insurance companies tend to cast doubt upon victims of whiplash injuries because it is an injury that many people have lied about in the past. This perception causes additional challenges to victims of whiplash injuries who are trying to seek compensation for their losses. To file a successful whiplash claim, victims can follow these tips to boost credibility and improve their chances at a maximum settlement.
- Seek professional medical care. Victims of a car accident should seek medical attention immediately after the incident. While whiplash symptoms can take a while to appear, victims should seek medical care even if they do not feel hurt. The doctor can provide a medical report and perform tests to verify the whiplash injury, which the victim can present as evidence to the insurance company.
- Follow a treatment plan. At the end of the appointment, the doctor will prescribe a treatment plan to treat the victim’s whiplash. The purpose of this plan is to expedite recovery, minimize additional injuries, and reduce side effects. Victims should follow their whiplash treatment plans closely; doing so will indicate to the insurance company that the injury is serious and the victim is committed to recovery. Failure to follow the plan could signal to the company that the injury is fake, reducing the victim’s chances at compensation.
- File a formal insurance claim as soon as possible. Many companies have strict deadlines for filing a claim after an accident. Victims should file a claim with the company as soon as possible after the accident to avoid missing the deadline. Victims should stick to the facts of the accident when filing the claim and avoid admitting fault, which could reduce compensation. The insurance company may suggest that the victim undergo a medical exam by the company’s physician, but the victim should decline this offer. Visiting an objective medical professional will give the victim a clearer picture of his or her injuries.
- Collect necessary evidence. Victims should obtain certain documents, photographs, notes, and other pieces of evidence prior to filing their claim. These documents will help support the injury. Victims should obtain medical records from after the accident, test results, expense documentation, and medical records from before the accident to prove health status and clear the victim of preexisting conditions.
- Obtain the services of a personal injury attorney. Proving a whiplash injury case requires sharpened negotiation skills, investigation resources, and experience collecting evidence related to the injury. A personal injury attorney can help a whiplash victim build a compelling case and negotiate with insurance companies on his or her behalf.
For the highest chances at maximum compensation and a low-stress claims process, whiplash victims should obtain the services of a personal injury attorney as soon as possible following their injuries.