What is Whiplash & Can I Recover Damages for It?

WhiplashThe incidence of neck sprains and strains due to sudden extension and flexion, where the head stretches backward and then is suddenly whipped forward, resulting in a serious soft-tissue injury, is known as “whiplash.” The most common symptoms associated with whiplash are neck pain, difficulty moving your neck, neck swelling, and even dealing with potential muscle spasms in your neck. Some symptoms last for three months or so, but others can continue for longer.

Although head restraints help prevent these kinds of injuries, it is still common for the head to suddenly whip forward after one’s vehicle has been struck from behind. Even more concerning, according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders, sometimes the pain associated with this injury is not noticeable until some time after the accident, and a simple neck sprain can eventually develop into something serious, such as debilitating headaches, dizziness, and memory problems. Victims may even experience associated nerve damage, ruptured vertebrae, or torn or ruptured ligaments.

Whiplash is the most frequently reported injury in United States insurance claims as a result of a rear-end auto accident. In 2007 alone, the cost associated with these injuries was about $8.8 billion.

Are There Damages For Whiplash?

Although whiplash is commonly associated with auto accidents, it can still be difficult to make a claim for any damages related to your whiplash injuries. If you are suffering from whiplash due to an accident, it is imperative that you obtain documentation from a doctor because the condition can sometimes elicit suspicion from insurance companies. And even with this documentation, you must obtain experienced counsel to look at your chances of winning a potential case before even considering damages for your injury.

Florida abides by a no-fault system when it comes to insurance policies, which means that your insurance company will cover medical expenses and lost income, regardless of fault. If you are suffering from whiplash due to a car accident, keep track of any medical costs and any other relevant records to how the accident may have affected your daily life, including any sick time taken from work as a result of the accident.

You can only step outside the no-fault system under certain circumstances; there is a “serious injury” threshold which must be met to make a claim on the other driver’s insurance, or to file a personal injury lawsuit. This “serious injury” threshold usually means there must be a permanent injury or a permanent and significant disfigurement or scarring, or death.

Additional factors can make these cases difficult. Florida abides by the theory of comparative negligence, which means that a judge or jury will reduce any compensation you receive if you are found even partially at fault.

Still, you may have to file a personal injury claim to collect damages associated with your injury, in which case you may be able to recover both economic damages (financial losses that would have not have occurred but for the injury giving rise to the action) and non-economic damages (pain and suffering, inconvenience, physical impairment, mental anguish, disfigurement, loss of capacity for enjoyment of life and other non financial losses). Deciding whether or not to go to trial to try and recover damages for your injuries associated with whiplash entirely depend on the circumstances of your condition: degree of fault, severity of injury, medical costs, any quality of life costs, if you were even partially at fault for the accident, how your insurance company handles the accident and/or your compensation, etc.

Contact Experienced Representation

If you are thinking of filing a claim, ensure that you have kept track of important, relevant documents, such as: police reports, details about the accident, information about those involved and any witnesses, your medical records and bills, any relevant medications, any effect on your employment as a result of the injury, etc.

Also keep in mind that Florida has a statute of limitations, or time limit, on when you can file a lawsuit against a party that is at fault for your injury; you have four years from the date of the accident to file against a private party, and three years against a local, city, county, or state government.

If you or a loved one has suffered serious injuries as the result of an accident (disfigurement or significant/permanent scarring), you may be able to file a liability claim against the at-fault driver and obtain damages related to your injuries. The attorneys at Brill & Rinaldi have the skills and experience necessary for you to receive compensation for your injuries. We’ve dealt with numerous, complicated cases related to auto accidents, personal injury, medical malpractice, and many more. Our free initial consultation will help determine whether your case meets the required threshold, and if a case should go forward.