The American Chiropractic Association defines whiplash as “a generic term applied to injuries of the neck caused when the neck is suddenly and / or violently jolted in one direction and then another, creating a whip-like movement.” This sudden jolt can tear muscles and ligaments, leading to chronic pain and disability. Every year, as many as 1.3 million Americans sustain whiplash injuries, and rear end car accidents are the leading cause.
Will Auto Insurance Be Enough?
Most cases of whiplash result from crashes that authorities consider “minor,” like rear end collisions. And as soft tissue injuries, most legitimate cases of whiplash won’t show up on MRIs or X-rays, which can make it difficult to support your injury with objective, medical evidence of damage. At times, this is all the ammunition an insurance company needs: no definitive proof, no settlement. If they have evidence that your crash was not “serious,” insurers can severely limit payouts.
But whiplash injuries, even the ones caused by routine accidents, are extremely serious. The National Institutes of Health has found a marked association between whiplash injuries and “high costs and a prognosis that is variable and difficult to predict.” In short, whiplash type injuries affect people in wildly different ways, and the possibility of a full recovery is far from assured. Beyond that, and perhaps because of it, medical treatments designed to help whiplash victims can be long-term and expensive. In fact, medical and legal costs associated with whiplash injuries amount to well over $8 billion a year in America.
Adding insult to injury, many insurance companies have vocally denounced whiplash sufferers for filing “fake claims.” But whiplash is indeed real, and victims deserve to be respected, honored, and compensated fairly. The insurance industry has turned its back on injury victims. Legal recourse, a lawsuit, may be the only legitimate avenue open. But is your case viable? Can you sue a negligent driver for compensation?
What Do I Need To Sue?
In New York State, the most important factor in filing an injury lawsuit is medical documentation. We need the opinion of an objective professional, a physician, who can attest to the fact that you were injured in a specific way. This allows us to corroborate the symptoms you personally report, from an outside perspective, lending your argument weight.
In the best case scenario, you would have visited an emergency room or your preferred doctor immediately after the accident and been diagnosed with a soft tissue neck injury. But in a surprising number of cases, symptoms don’t become apparent until well after the initial crash. This can make it hard, but not impossible, to argue that your injuries were in fact caused by the accident. A defendant’s lawyer might plausibly argue that you could have been injured at any point between the moment of the collision and the moment in which your symptoms appeared.
Prompt medical attention, even if you feel fine, is essential to presenting a case that denies the validity of such claims. If you haven’t yet seen a doctor, do so immediately. Detail your accident and thoroughly inform them of any symptoms you are experiencing.
Contact A Legal Professional
As we’ve seen, accident claims involving whiplash are complicated, controversial, and difficult to win. But no case is hopeless.
The cab accident lawyers at Banville Law offer a free consultation to all injury victims. Call our experienced attorneys today and learn whether you have a case. There’s no obligation, only the information you need to know.