Whiplash is perhaps one of the most common and well-known injuries that can result from a car accident in Florida. Whiplash injuries are most likely to occur when the vehicle comes to a sudden stop and causes an individual’s head and neck to be thrown quickly and harshly forwards. This quick back and forth motion upon your neck can cause damage to the soft tissue in your neck and affect your spine and nerves. The severity and effects of a whiplash injury can differ, as can the size of settlement payouts. Due to the alternating severity between cases and the fact the full effect of whiplash can take days or weeks to become fully obvious, your settlement can become complex. Because of these layers of complexity, it is best to have experienced personal injury lawyers on your side.
If you have been involved in a car accident that was not your fault and have suffered from whiplash injuries, then you should contact The Law Place. Here at our law firm, our personal injury lawyers boast 75 years of combined experience in dealing with cases such as your own, and many are AVVO 10.0 rated. Our lawyers can be trusted to work through your case with you. We will help to identify and review all damages for your case.
Car accident settlements can be complicated so call us today to organize a free consultation to learn more. Call our office on (941) 444-4444. Phone lines are open 24/7.
What Is a Whiplash Injury?
Whiplash is a type of neck injury that is caused by a sudden forward and backward movement of the head and neck. This causes the cervical spine to experience rapid motions and extreme stress. It is a common occurrence in most car accidents, specifically rear-end car accidents. A whiplash injury is medically recognized as cervical acceleration-deceleration (CAD) syndrome. The symptoms of a whiplash injury can last for as long as three months. While a sore neck is the most obvious symptom of whiplash, other less obvious symptoms include:
- Stiffness in the neck area, causing limited movement of the neck.
- Limited movement in the shoulder area.
- Back pain.
- Jaw pain.
- Tinnitus commonly involves car accident victims hearing ringing in their ears.
- Issues with sleeping.
- Headaches, commonly in the base of the neck or back of the skull.
- Emotional stress can be caused by related symptoms.
- Traumatic brain injuries caused by the violent motion associated with whiplash.
Our lawyers can recognize how serious neck injuries, such as whiplash, can be and we recommend seeking medical attention as soon as possible if you haven’t already. Our attorneys will be able to reimburse any medical bills you face in the form of a car accident settlement.
How Long Do Whiplash Injuries Last?
A car accident will often result in those involved suffering from whiplash. Neck pain is one of the most common symptoms of whiplash, and the majority of people report this pain subsiding within a few days, a couple of weeks at most. However, this is not the case for all, and between 12-50% of car accident victims who experience neck or back pain report this still being an issue for as long as a year after the accident.
As with most injuries, your recovery time will depend heavily on the severity of your auto accident and the injuries that follow. Those who report severe pain immediately after their car accident often experience this pain for much longer than those who do not. Additionally, those who have existing neurological symptoms (or experience this after their auto accident) are likely to experience whiplash-related symptoms for a lot longer than those who don’t.
How Is a Whiplash Injury Treated?
Following the diagnosis of a whiplash injury, your doctor will provide you with a detailed treatment plan. This is likely to combine both physical therapy and medicine (such as painkillers). Your medical professional may prescribe medicines including muscle relaxers, anti-inflammatory medication, opioid painkillers, or steroid injections. What medication you receive will depend on how much pain you’re in and the severity of your injuries.
Your treatment plan may also include some specific home remedies, the aim being to treat your injuries without too much medication. These remedies can include home exercises, specific ways to sleep to help ease your neck, hot and/or cold packs. These will work together with any medical prescriptions to help decrease your recovery time.
What Factors Determine My Whiplash Injury Settlement?
- Legal liability – You will have to contact your insurance company as soon as possible if you wish to file a claim against somebody. Your insurer will want to see any police reports, photos of the scene, witness accounts, and medical records to determine the at-fault party. Being able to successfully prove liability is essential in this type of lawsuit. Alternatively, your Personal Injury Protection claim will not consider liability, as you are owed this regardless of who was at fault.
- The severity of injuries – As with any personal injury settlement, your payout will depend heavily on how severe your injuries are believed to be. Several factors will help determine their severity. Lawyers from a personal injury law firm (such as The Law Place) will be able to help you identify and prove the existence of serious injuries. This will also include any psychological injuries, such as depression, anxiety, or insomnia that resulted from your personal injuries or the accident itself.
- Medical bills – Your insurer will evaluate your symptoms and how much you spent or will spend in order to recover from your injuries. For instance, if you only required a short trip to the emergency room, then they may not deem your injuries severe enough. However, if you had to see specialists and had multiple visits to professionals, then this may increase your car accident settlement.
- Any lost wages – Your lost wages will be a significant factor when determining your whiplash settlement. Any lost wages, as well as any future lost wages, are an easy way of providing evidence of the financial costs your injuries caused. It can also help prove non-economic costs as it will highlight the potential for any emotional distress caused by financial uncertainty following your accident.
How Is My Whiplash Injury Settlement Calculated?
Your insurance company will calculate any upfront costs caused by your injuries quite easily. For example, if you were charged $5,000 in medical bills and lost $2,500 in lost wages, then you would be owed $7,500 in damages. However, an average car accident settlement should also cover any potential future losses and expenses. Some insurance companies often fail to account for the long-term impact of a serious injury when they provide you with a car accident settlement offer. If this is the case, you may have to seek the aid of a personal injury lawyer to ensure you receive a fair settlement that accounts for all of your losses.
In regards to pain and suffering compensation, your insurance adjuster will typically adopt the pain and suffering multiplier method to work out these damages. This will involve the insurance company taking the amount of money spent on emergency room visits, treatment, therapy, and rehab; this is used as the basis for assigning your pain and suffering damages a specific monetary amount. Following this, they will multiply that figure by a factor ranging from 1-5. Your insurance adjusters evaluate your case and choose a figure based on the severity of what you have experienced. Some will instead use a per diem method, which involves multiplying a specific daily rate by the number of days you were suffering.
However, whiplash injury settlements can be impacted by the fact most insurance adjusters do not recognize whiplash as a severe injury. This means they are likely to use the lower end of the multiplier for your whiplash settlement. A personal injury attorney from The Law Place will be able to work with you so that your case clearly lays out any suffering you have endured in order to receive a fair whiplash settlement.
What Is Included in a Standard Whiplash Injury Claim?
Following a car accident, it is likely that whiplash injury victims will file a claim in order to receive compensation for their personal injuries; this is often encapsulated within a car accident settlement. The average car accident settlement will include the following common damages:
- Medical bills – After any car accident, it is likely that those involved will have to seek medical attention. However, treatment will come at a cost, and for some, this can be extremely expensive! Any medical bills (including treatment, physio, and any future medical expenses) can be accounted for in an average car accident settlement. It is advisable to keep any bills (e.g., prescription or ambulance costs) and a journal documenting your recovery as evidence for this.
- Lost wages – If you sustained serious injuries or experienced mental pain and suffering that meant you could not go to work, then any wages lost from this period can be accounted for in your auto accident settlement. Similarly, if you cannot return to work, then you could claim for a loss of earning potential.
- Pain and suffering – Pain and suffering compensation is a complex form of non-economic damages. It aims to compensate for any mental or physical suffering resulting from your car accident, as well as any loss of enjoyment in life. Loss of enjoyment accounts for any activities you can now no longer do because of your accident (e.g., you cannot be a part of your weekly soccer team because of your injury). Pain and suffering compensation can be difficult to both calculate and prove, so it is best to have personal injury attorneys working for you to do this on your behalf.
- Property damage – Your whiplash is not the only thing that can be compensated for following a car accident. You can also claim for physical losses such as property damage. Any repair or replacement costs you encountered can be factored into your auto accident settlement.
What if I’m Offered an Early Settlement for My Whiplash Injuries?
It is not uncommon for your insurance company to send through an early settlement following your car accident. We realize that the upfront cash could be very tempting, but it is vital that you do not come to any agreements until you know the full extent of your injuries and the true impact of your car accident. With many whiplash injuries, the full effect does not manifest until a few days or weeks after the car accident. If you have already accepted a settlement value prematurely, then you will not be able to file another claim or a lawsuit to seek more compensation.
Initial car accident settlements sent by insurance companies are often not entirely fair and will not reflect the pain and suffering you have endured. Your whiplash injury could bring about effects that result in large medical bills or a missing income. Insurance companies aim to preserve their own profits, so they tend to offer lower car accident settlements.
A car accident lawyer will be able to accurately evaluate your damages and calculate a fair compensation request. This will ensure you get the amount you are rightfully owed. Our lawyers at The Law Place will be able to negotiate with the relevant insurance companies on your behalf and argue the value we believe you are owed. Contact us today to schedule a free case evaluation, to learn more about your personal injury case, and to find out how we can recover your compensation.
Will No-Fault Insurance Affect My Claim?
Florida Statute 627.7407 explains the no-fault system used in Florida law. The no-fault system means that if you have been involved in a car accident and sustained a whiplash injury in Florida, then all drivers involved will have to rely on their respective insurance coverage if they wish to make a claim. This is regardless of who is actually proven to be at fault. So that these claims can be covered, all Florida drivers are required to have Personal Injury Protection (PIP) Insurance within their own car insurance policy.
PIP insurance should be able to cover an average settlement, i.e., medical expenses, lost wages, and any other expenses that occurred as a result of your accident. PIP insurance will, however, have a limit to what it can cover. If your desired car accident settlement can’t be completely covered by your PIP insurance, then you may wish to file a lawsuit against the at-fault driver so that this cost can be accounted for. If you do decide to do this, it is best to have a lawyer on hand to help, as the process for filing a lawsuit can be difficult.
Is There a Time Limit on My Florida Car Accident Settlement?
Yes! If you have sustained a whiplash injury in a car accident, then it is extremely important that you act quickly. This includes hiring a lawyer as soon as possible. Florida law places a strict statute of limitations on personal injury cases, as per Florida Statute 95.11. This statute means that you will have four years from the date of your car accident to file a whiplash injury claim. If these four years pass, then your case will be permanently barred. This means that you will be unable to receive any compensation for the injuries sustained and financial losses. If you have sadly lost a loved one in a car crash, then the statute of limitations on filing a wrongful death lawsuit is reduced to two years from the date of their passing.
Additionally, your insurance claim could also be affected by whether or not you sought medical attention. Florida Statute 627.736 states that you must seek medical treatment within two weeks of your car accident. Whiplash injuries do not commonly leave physically visible signs, so it is best to have a doctor look you over to diagnose this. Furthermore, an insurance company can use a failure to seek medical attention against you, as it can be used as evidence for your injuries not being serious enough for compensation.
If you have been involved in a car crash caused by a negligent driver, then it is best to contact The Law Place as soon as possible. In your free consultation, we will be able to provide you with the necessary legal advice regarding deadlines for insurance claims.
Contact a Personal Injury Lawyer at The Law Place Today!
If you or somebody you know has been involved in a car accident that wasn’t their fault, and this has resulted in a whiplash injury, then contact The Law Place today! Our car accident attorneys have 75 years of combined experience in dealing with claims such as your own, so they have more than enough knowledge to help you get the justice you deserve. Contact us today to schedule your own free case evaluation to learn more about what we can do for you. Call our office at (941) 444-4444. Phone lines are open 24/7.