Whiplash is one of the most common injuries that result from an auto accident. It occurs due to severe muscle strain in the neck and the area around the shoulders. The muscle strain is caused by the back-and-forth movement of the neck when the vehicle stops suddenly. When you have suffered such an injury, it is vital you seek compensation against the person responsible for it. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to make an injury claim for whiplash.
It is wise you stay calm immediately after the accident. Getting angry and shouting will only cause the person to blame you for the incident.
Seek Immediate Medical Attention
Go to the doctor as soon as possible. Seek immediate medical attention even if you feel less pain or minimal discomfort. Cases like whiplash and other soft tissue damages do not show immediate symptoms. You will only realize you are injured when it is too late. A physician will examine you and determine whether you have suffered whiplash by fetching for the following signs and symptoms;
• The stiffness of the neck muscles and difficulty turning the head sideways.
• Constant headaches due to the tight muscles around the neck and head.
• Lack of sharp vision due to the inability to see things clearly.
• Back pain on the lower side between the bottom part of the ribcage all the way to the legs.
• Lack of proper balance as well as having the sensation of spinning.
The first source of information about your injury should come from a certified physician. Insurance agents treat whiplash cases with a lot of suspicion, so you need to be careful not to make any errors. Do not tell anyone about your injuries at the scene of the accident. Call 911 for medical emergency and let a physician talk on your behalf
Find If Your Injury is Covered by Insurance
If you suffer a whiplash injury, someone else may be legally held responsible. You need to find out if the person has an insurance coverage that can help pay the claim you will file. Ask the person whether he owns the car and the maximum amount he is entitled to in the coverage. This is very important because it will help you know whether or not you will collect all the damages you will be awarded.
Contact a Personal Injury Lawyer
Except in cases where you are confident you will get a good compensation on your own, it is best to at least talk to a personal injury lawyer. A lawyer will analyze the situation and discuss with you the merits of the case. He will help you prepare for the case by collecting evidence from the scene or contacting witnesses. Most lawyers offer free initial consultations, so you don’t have to worry about how much you can afford to have a lawyer.
File a Claim
You need to file the whiplash claim as soon as possible. When filing a claim, you will have to notify possible defendants to let them know about your intention. Since there is a legal deadline for filing whiplash claims, which is three years in New York, you should notify them as soon as possible after the accident. The notification should be in form of a well-crafted letter stating when the accident occurred and that you suffered whiplash, and you believe they are the ones responsible.
Filing a claim is a complicated process that should be done by someone who knows the ins and outs of personal injury law. Let your personal injury lawyer file the claim on your behalf to avoid complications.
Attempt to Settle
Your lawyer might send a demand note to those involved, letting them know you are willing to accept a local settlement. The lawyer will evaluate all the settlement offers presented before making his final decision.
File a Complaint in Court
In case your lawyer is not satisfied with the settlement or both parties fail to agree, he may file a lawsuit in court. The lawsuit will identify you and prove to the judges that on a particular date and time, you suffered whiplash as a result of the defendant’s negligence. The lawyer will then table his evidence and present his arguments to convince the court to grant you relief in the form of monetary compensation.