Whiplash refers to a common injury that results from car accidents. Whiplash, a common term, refers to soft tissue injuries to neck and back that result from collision-related neck movement. Whiplash is not a legal term. The term is also not used in medicine, which uses more specific terms for the particular injuries referred to as whiplash, such as “cervical acceleration/deceleration” (CAD), “whiplash associated disorders” (WAD), or soft tissue injury.
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Soft tissue injuries are not likely to cause severe symptoms immediately after a car accident. There is also often very little evidence of injury, such as a broken bone or gash. Insurance adjusters and other professionals may be skeptical about whiplash claims. Whiplash injuries can cause severe limitations. An adequately documented claim can result in a settlement that will compensate the victim and allow them to receive the treatment and therapy they require.
Establishing Your Claim
It is crucial that you properly document your injury in order to be successful with your injury claim. This must be done immediately following an accident. This includes noting and conserving:
Information about the accident date, time and location
- The identities of all drivers and other involved, as well as their insurance information.
- The name and badge number for the police officer who arrived on the scene to prepare a report about the accident.
Additional information should be collected in the immediate aftermath of an accident. Gather as much information as possible at the earliest opportunity
The police report on the accident.
Records relating to medical treatment that was required after the accident, including any relevant information provided by healthcare providers and doctors.
Documentation for medical purposes is important and could include:
- Emergency medical records
- Emergency room records for treatment;
- Hospital records
- Chiropractic records
- Physical therapist records
- Any other medical documentation.
Your settlement will also include lost work. You should collect evidence about your employment, income and any income/work you have missed due to your injuries.
Timing is crucial in the car accident whiplash settlement process. The statute of limitations requires that injuries claims must be filed within a specified time. The statutes of limitation can vary greatly between states.
The extent of your injuries is another consideration. It may take a while before you realize the full extent of your injuries. An undervalued settlement could be possible if you begin the whiplash settlement process for car accidents before you are fully informed about the extent of your injuries.
The Settlement Process
These are the steps involved in the car accident whiplash settlement process:
- The Notification Letter — You start your claim when you send a notice letter informing that you have suffered injuries and are seeking compensation.
- A Reservation of Rights Letter — An insurer will write to you saying that they will review your claim, and that they reserve the right to disagree with any allegations.
- The Demand Letter — You, or your attorney, send a demand note with your description of what happened, your injuries, and documentation of your damages.
The adjuster can then either agree with your terms or disagree in whole or part. Or, he/she may send a counteroffer. The parties will continue to exchange statements and documents until they reach a mutually agreeable amount or a deadlock. If there is no agreement, the claim can be brought to court.
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Legal Assistance with the Car Accident Whiplash Settlement Process
There are many pitfalls in the car accident whiplash settlement process that could lead to financial losses. An experienced lawyer can guide you through the process to ensure you are fairly compensated for any injuries. To discuss your claim and to review it, contact a motor vehicle accident lawyer in your area.