Head and neck injuries in Pinellas county are among the most common injuries suffered in auto accidents. Many people make the mistake of thinking that a common injury is the same as a minor injury, and whiplash is one form of head and neck injury that may require a prolonged recovery period, as well as missed work time and a significant medical bill. You could suffer chronic pain or traumatic brain injuries from other types of head and neck injuries, from which you may never fully recover.
A whiplash injury occurs when the head is violently thrown back and forth in the same way a whip cracks. Sporting accidents or other types of physical trauma can result in it, but as mentioned above auto accidents are the most common cause. Whiplash injuries can be triggered by many types of accidents, but are usually triggered by rear-end collisions. You should always get checked out by a physician if you are involved in an auto accident. Neck injuries range in severity, but they can lead to problems that could last your whole life. In addition, it is wise to hire a whiplash injury lawyer if you suspect that a negligent party is responsible for the accident.
Symptoms of Whiplash Injuries Following a Car Accident
In many cases, whiplash and other head and neck injuries don’t become evident until up to 24 hours after the accident. Whiplash affects the soft tissues in the neck, so there are no physical symptoms of the injury until it manifests itself later on. An accident causes the neck and upper body to be thrust forward, then back again abruptly, or vice versa, resulting in this injury. Here are some whiplash injury symptoms to look for:
- Neck pain
- Headache, usually in the back of the head
- Dizziness, nausea or vomiting
- Stiffness or inability to move the neck comfortably
- Numbness in the shoulders, arms, or hands
- Muscle spasms
- Shoulder pain
- Weakness or tingling sensations in the arms
Additional symptoms that may occur:
- Tinnitus (ringing in ears)
- Blurry vision
- Trouble sleeping
- Difficulty concentrating or remembering
The most severe head and neck injuries will be obvious, but whiplash and other damage to the soft tissue of the neck, such as neck sprains and strains, can be more difficult to prove because there are often no visible signs that the accident caused the injuries, such as broken bones or bruising. In Pinellas, our personal injury lawyers are experienced at advocating on behalf of clients to prove the accident caused the injury.
Seek Medical Attention If You Have a Whiplash Injury From a Car Accident in Pinellas
If you feel even the slightest hint of pain or discomfort after a car accident, you should seek medical attention immediately. In view of the fact that symptoms don’t appear until later on, this is especially important. When doctors are given the facts surrounding a particular accident, they can recognize signs of whiplash that may otherwise go unnoticed. If you file a personal injury claim based on the accident, you must support your claims with consistent medical records. Even when the circumstances are ideal, insurance adjusters view whiplash-type injury cases with suspicion. So make sure you receive medical care, and keep your medical records.
Build a Whiplash Injury Claim After a Car Accident in Pinellas
Whiplash may occur as a result of negligence on the part of another driver, in which case you may be entitled to compensation through an insurance personal injury claim. To increase your chances of obtaining compensation in Pinellas, you should follow the steps below.
Utilize Your Treatment Plan
You should always follow your doctor’s recommendations for treatment. In order to recover quickly and prevent setbacks or other symptoms, you must do this. You will also be showing insurance companies, juries, and attorneys for the other side that you have a serious injury by following your treatment plan. In addition to lowering your chances of recovering compensation, discontinuing treatment can make the process much more difficult, potentially affecting the amount of compensation you may receive.
File an Insurance Claim
Immediately notify the insurance company of the at-fault driver so you don’t miss the insurer’s deadline. Keep these best practices in mind when filing an insurance claim in Florida:
- Don’t speculate or give opinions. Only provide the facts to the insurer, do not give any opinions or speculations. Tell the insurer when, where and how the accident occurred. Let the insurer know if you are receiving medical treatment. Don’t mention the severity of your injuries or how much pain you are experiencing. You may unintentionally damage your compensation chances if you discuss these.
- Do not assume fault. Do not accept any responsibility for the accident. While accepting fault does not keep you from receiving compensation, the insurance company can use whatever you say against you. Allow the claims process to run its course, and the evidence will prove how much you were at fault if any.
- Do not get an independent medical examination. It is possible that your insurer will tell you that you must see their doctor, but you are not required to do so. The doctor works for the insurance company and is only concerned with the company’s best interests, which is to pay you nothing or as little as possible for your injury.
In order to prove your injury, you must gather the following evidence:
- Records of medical treatment after the accident. Records of medical treatment after the accident.
- Medical records from before the accident that describe your health status. It will help exclude preexisting conditions that could account for the whiplash injury.
- Test results. The results of medical imaging and diagnostic tests that show the extent of your injury and your progress towards recovery are included.
- Documentation of medical expenses. You will need your medical bills and payment receipts, as well as documentation of when you were receiving treatment or couldn’t perform your duties due to your injury. It is more likely that you will be justly compensated if you provide complete documentation of your expenses.
What Factors Impact the Compensation You can Receive from a Whiplash Injury Claim?
Using medical records and statements from providers can determine the current and future costs associated with your injury and the medical care you have received. Whiplash claim amounts with mild to moderate severity may settle for $2,500 to $10,000, but more severe cases may settle for $30,000. How much will your claim be worth? Here are some factors that can increase the value of whiplash injury claims and how insurance companies will attempt to use them against you.
Bodily Injury Calculations
Your bodily injury claim’s general value can be determined by adding up your hard costs, called “Economic damages” in insurance lingo. Economic damages:
- Medical or chiropractic bills
- Therapy or treatment bills
- Out-of-pocket expenses related to the injury
- Cost of replacement services, like lawn care
- Lost income
Your bodily injury claim’s general value can be determined by adding up your hard costs, also referred to as special damages. If you have a bill and a receipt, you can easily add up special damages. Ensure you include all of your medical and pharmacy costs, even if some or all of them are covered by your health insurance. Identifying “Non-Economic damages” (otherwise referred to as compensatory damages) such as pain, suffering, and emotional distress can be challenging. An injury’s impact on your life cannot be measured objectively. An insurance claim adjuster won’t trust your statement alone.
Depending on whether you’ve fully recovered and can prove your pain and suffering, you may add one or two times the amount of your economic damages to account for your pain and suffering. You can estimate the value of your bodily injury claim based on the total of your economic and non-economic damages. A much higher rate of pain and suffering is applied to severe, potentially disabling injuries.
Usually, higher medical costs result in higher injury settlements if the costs are justified. Whenever you submit medical and chiropractic bills for reimbursement, you can’t assume the claims adjuster will simply agree with the amount.
It is only required of insurance companies to pay for “reasonable and necessary” injury treatment bills. Adjusters are familiar with the standard of care for whiplash injuries. You will be responsible for the balance due if the insurance company refuses to pay excessive bills. Insurance adjusters are looking for exaggerated injury claims and may send you to a doctor for an independent medical examination.
Where the Accident Occurred
It is possible that the location of your accident will affect the amount of compensation you receive. When determining how much to pay for settlements, insurance adjusters consider “venue”. The venue is the place where the trial will take place if you file a lawsuit. It is known that some venues offer more favorable conditions for injury victims than for insurance companies.
If you approach an insurance adjuster about settling your claim, they might offer you more money just to keep you from bringing a lawsuit in a venue where bodily injury lawsuits tend to get large verdicts.
Research is often conducted by attorneys in previous cases with similar facts. An attorney can better interpret what a personal injury case might be worth if it went to trial by looking at how much compensation was awarded in those cases. With a trial, there are no guarantees, but venue research provides an indication of case value.
Talk to a Pinellas Personal Injury Lawyer About Your Whiplash Injury Claim
You cannot count on your insurance adjuster to pay your claim. There is no way to predict whether or not the person responsible for the accident will have insurance. A personal injury lawsuit may be necessary in order to collect damages. It can be difficult to pursue a lawsuit for whiplash injury in no-fault states like Florida because of threshold injury and damage requirements. Should you choose to sue, you might be entitled to non-economic damages such as pain and suffering. An attorney in Pinellas County can provide you with guidance on the laws of your jurisdiction and the possible outcomes of your case. You can maximize compensation for your injuries with the help of a skilled personal injury attorney.
Liability Affects Compensation
For most claims, you won’t need to prove who caused the accident in no-fault insurance states. If you have Personal Injury Protection (PIP), you will negotiate with your own insurance company to resolve your injury claim.You will be responsible for proving claims against the other person’s insurance company. Your claim will be denied if the insurance company does not accept liability for the insured.
Request a Free Consultation With an Attorney Experienced With Whiplash Injury Claims in Pinellas
At Herman & Wells, our personal injury lawyers have helped many clients with whiplash injuries maximize their compensation for medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Our goal is to protect your interests and get you the compensation you deserve while guiding you through the process. Get in touch with us right away for a free, no-obligation consultation. Our law firm works on a contingency fee agreement, so our firm only earns a portion of the final settlement or verdict amount for a given case. If we aren’t able to successfully advocate for a client, they will not owe us anything. These details will be explained in more detail during the initial consultation with one of our attorneys.
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