Can I Sue for Whiplash from a Car Accident?

Posted on August 15, 2018

Whiplash refers to neck strain, and it is a common occurrence from a car accident. When the forces of an auto accident “whip” the head and neck forward or backward in a way that strains the tendons and muscles, the victim can suffer whiplash. Automotive accidents is one of the top 3 causes for whiplash.

What are the Biggest Causes of Whiplash?

The Mayo Clinic has reported that the Top 3 causes of whiplash are as follows:

  1. Auto Accidents
  2. Physical Assault or Abuse
  3. Contact Sports

If you or a loved one suffered a soft tissue injury like whiplash, or another neck injury or  in an auto accident in Los Angeles, find out if and when you can sue the at-fault party for related damages.

Who is Liable for a Whiplash Injury?

Liability is the legal accountability of one person to another for the damages an accident causes. California is a fault car accident state, meaning that the person who is at fault for causing the collision will be liable for victims’ injuries and related losses. After suffering whiplash in an auto accident, you must determine the party who caused the wreck. This could be the other driver, but it may also be other parties, such as a vehicle manufacturer that sold a faulty part (e.g., for a faulty seatbelt), a roadway maintenance crew, or a third party.

The person or entity that should have reasonably prevented the car accident yet failed to do so, such as a driver who was following your vehicle too closely before a rear-end collision, will be the one primarily responsible for compensating your damages. An investigation by the police, insurance companies, and/or a law firm can help you determine the at-fault party (defendant) in your whiplash lawsuit.

Some auto accident cases in LA involve the shared liability of multiple parties. California is also a comparative negligence state, meaning the courts may divide and allocate fault among more than one party. Even if the person with whiplash contributed to the crash, he or she may still be eligible for compensation under the pure comparative fault laws. If you caused the accident in California, your insurance company may still cover whiplash injury damages.

How Long After an Accident Can I Get Whiplash?

Many auto accident victims experience the symptoms of whiplash right away, as soon as the crash occurs. These symptoms can include tightness in the neck, hard or “knotted” muscles, poor range of motion, pain when you move your neck, stiffness, tenderness, or headaches that start at the base of the skull. After a collision, pause to check yourself for injuries, if you notice any of these symptoms, try not to move your neck while you wait for paramedics to arrive. Moving the wrong way could worsen a whiplash injury.

It is possible to experience delayed symptoms from a whiplash injury. Some patients don’t report symptoms until several hours after the collision. This can happen because of the adrenaline from the collision, or from the way in which the neck’s muscles or tendons sustain injury. Always take care of yourself after a car accident, even if you don’t think you have injuries. Tell the police you aren’t sure if you have injuries. Visit a hospital right away for a checkup. Saying you aren’t injured at first could make it more difficult to obtain compensation if you notice injuries later.

What Is the Average Payout for Whiplash?

If you do have grounds to file an insurance and/or personal injury claim because of whiplash, the value of your claim will depend on the cost of your medical bills, your degree of pain and suffering, whether your injury caused you to miss work, and/or other expenses relating to your neck injury. Many claimants can qualify for thousands of dollars in compensation for whiplash. It has been reported that some soft-tissue neck injuries could cost an excess of $30,000 for treatment, like physical therapy. Each case is unique, with no set amount the courts will award all whiplash claimants.

Only a meeting with a Los Angeles personal injury attorney can give you a clearer picture of what your individual case could be worth. A lawyer can help you calculate your potential compensation based on your economic and non-economic damages. In general, the more serious your neck injury, the more money you will be eligible to receive. Meet with a lawyer today for more information about your case. Call us today! (310) 477-1700

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