In 2018, there were 249,241 people injured in car accidents in Texas. Of those people, 14,908 people suffered a serious injury. Car accidents are so common in Texas that 1 reportable crash happened every 58 seconds in the state in 2018.
Whiplash is a common type of injury suffered in car accidents. This neck injury can be debilitating, causing pain, stiffness, and a range of other symptoms. Without treatment, whiplash can have long-lasting effects.
If you have been diagnosed with whiplash after a Texas car accident, you may be interested in filing a claim against the at-fault driver. Doing so can help you recover for your losses, including property damage, medical expenses, lost wages and more.
Many clients approach a Forth Worth car accident attorney with a simple question: how much is my case worth? Or, alternatively, what is the average settlement for a case like mine? The answer is complicated — and depends on a number of factors.
What Is Whiplash?
Whiplash occurs when a sudden impact causes your head to jerk forward or backward. The force from the accident can cause the muscles and tendons in your neck to stretch and tear. Whiplash most frequently occurs in rear-end collisions, but may occur in other types of accidents, in sports injuries, or from physical abuse.
There are numerous symptoms of whiplash, including:
- Neck pain
- A tight or stiff neck
- Worsening of pain with neck movement
- Loss of range of motion in the neck
- Vertigo or dizziness
- Tingling or numbness in the arms
- Tenderness or pain in the shoulder, upper back, or arms
- Balance problems
- Difficulty concentrating
- Back pain
- Difficulty with paying attention
- Memory problems
- Ringing in the ears
- Sleep disturbances
- Blurred vision
In some cases, the symptoms of whiplash resolve themselves after a short period of time when following a conservative treatment plan of pain medication and physical therapy. In other cases, whiplash will not get better and can have a long-term impact. Whiplash can lead to instability, can cause more serious disabilities as a person ages.
Without diagnosis, there is no way for medical professionals to predict what will happen in the future, or even to treat the current symptoms. That is why it is critical to see a doctor as soon as possible after any type of neck pain or other whiplash symptoms after a car accident or other traumatic injury. The doctor will rule out broken bones or tissue damage, and make an accurate diagnosis.
What Is an Average Settlement for Whiplash?
Whiplash has the potential to seriously impact a person’s life. While it will generally heal over time, it is a significant injury that causes pain and decreased functionality. A person who suffers a whiplash injury often has a lower quality of life as a result.
Depending on the severity of a whiplash injury, it may even prevent an individual from working or caring for their family. Combined with medical bills, lost wages and other expenses can quickly add up — leading to financial hardship.
The settlement process for a Texas personal injury case can be complex. It generally starts with a demand letter to the insurance company, where your Forth Worth car accident attorney will set forth the basis for liability for their driver, and then prove up the damages that you have suffered as a result of the accident. The insurance company will then typically counter your demand with an offer of its own.
No matter how significant your injuries may be, the other driver’s insurance company will likely make a low initial offer. Insurance companies are businesses, and the adjusters’ job is to maximize profits — not to give you the best possible settlement. There is no precise formula for determining a settlement amount, although some insurance adjusters will use a multiplier to determine what you may be awarded if the case went to trial.
Many times, the initial offer will barely cover the cost of your deductible. It may not be enough to cover ongoing medical costs, let alone lost wages. This is where having an aggressive, experienced lawyer to advocate for you is incredibly valuable.
In a whiplash case, you may be able to recover economic damages that will compensate you for your financial loss. These may include your medical bills, lost wages, property damage, and loss of earning capacity. Non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering, loss of consortium, and loss of enjoyment of life, may also be included. Punitive damages are rarely awarded in negligence cases, as they are designed to penalize a wrongdoer and deter others from engaging in similar conduct.
Each case is unique, so there is not necessarily an “average” settlement for whiplash. A person with a severe case may take months or even years to fully recover. Their settlement would likely be much higher than a person whose whiplash resolved after a few weeks of treatment.
There is a two-year statute of limitations for personal injury claims in Texas. This gives you up to two years after you are in an accident to file a claim. If you fail to do so, you won’t be able to bring a claim.
Patterson Law Group Can Help You Recover for Your Whiplash Injury
The attorneys of Patterson Law Group are dedicated to obtaining justice for people who have been injured in any type of accident. We are aggressive advocates for our clients, fighting for their right to compensation — and for justice.